Seahawks Lose Brown, May Gain Crumpler

Seahawks Lose Brown, May Gain Crumpler

The Seahawks had more done unto them than they actually did in the first day of free agency, but there are rumors afoot, and players in town who may not leave without contracts. Meanwhile, a kicker goes east, and D.J. Hackett might be waiting to see if the big sombrero fits.

Brown To Division Rival -- After reportedly refusing what may be the richest contract ever offered an NFL kicker by at least one outdoor team -- Seattle may have been joined by Kansas City in the sweepstakes -- former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown agreed to terms with the St. Louis Rams on a deal worth $14.2 million over five years, with a $4 million signing bonus, according to Adam Schefter of the NFL Network.

Various reports have the Seahawks offering essentially the same. In comparison, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri was signed to a five-year, $12 million deal in March of 2006 after leaving the New England Patriots in free agency.

The Rams' interest in Brown became more intense after the surprise retirement of veteran kicker Jeff Wilkins on Friday morning.

Brown, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 draft out of Nebraska, will move a lot closer to home. The Oklahoma native will also go from the apparently unfriendly confines of Seattle's Qwest Field to the Edward Jones Dome, the climate-controlled indoor football factory that should do wonders for his field goal percentage.

Or so you'd think. In his last two seasons, Brown's percentage indoors was worse than outdoors -- he was 5 of 7 indoors (71.4) and 23 of 27 (85.2) outdoors in 2007. He was better on grass than on turf in 2007, and 20 percent better outdoors in 2006 (86 to 66 percent).

In 2006, Brown tied an NFL record with four game-wining field goals in the final minute of regulation or overtime. His 2007 will be remembered for his tackle of Chicago Bears return maven Devin Hester. Brown was the team's franchise player in 2007, but cornerback Marcus Trufant received that designation this time. Brown's people and the Seahawks' front office reportedly had been discussing a long-term deal for some time, but nothing could be settled.

In his five seasons with the team, Brown kicked 116 field goals in 145 attempts, an 80.0 rate. He only missed one extra point and scored 571 total points.

Could Crumpler Be the Answer? -- Former Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler, who was recently released as part of Atlanta's post-Vick/Petrino rebuilding, spent Thursday and Friday in Seattle. Crumpler had previously visited Carolina, Tennessee and Tampa Bay. The 30-year old tight end led the Falcons in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2004, the year that current Seahawks team president Tim Ruskell served as Falcons assistant general manager.

In his seven-year career, Crumpler has amassed 316 receptions for 4,121 yards and 35 touchdowns. He caught two touchdown passes in Atlanta's season finale against the Seahawks, a 44-41 upset victory for the Falcons.

Seattle has had issues with the tight end position through Mike Holmgren's nine-year tenure, an irony when one considers how important the coach has found the position to be through his NFL career. 2002 first-round pick Jerramy Stevens struggled with substance abuse issues and on-field inconsistency. Solid but unspectacular Itula Mili caught a team-record 46 passes in 2003, but age and injury eventually caught up with him. In 2006, the Seahawks took a flyer on the 35-year-old Marcus Pollard, an experiment that went awry when Pollard caught only 28 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns in 10 starts.

Crumpler's agent told the Seattle Times that the player will return home and possibly visit one more team before deciding on his future. Seattle's interest has been described as everything from ardent to indifferent. As it so often is with free agency rumors, you can tailor the story to meet your desires if you look long enough.

No News on Hackett -- There's no definitive word on the fate of free agent receiver D.J. Hackett, though Matthew Postins of BucsBlitz.com has been monitoring Tampa Bay's interest in Hackett for the last week. The Tampa Tribune confirmed the Buccaneers' attention. The Vikings and Raiders are interested in Chicago's Bernard Berrian, who is expected to set the price for free agent receivers, so Hackett might have to cool his heels for a bit. The Seahawks have told Hackett to test the market.

The Colorado alum, selected in the fifth round of the 2004 draft from Colorado, was considered to be a potential statistical superstar before the 2007 season. Unfortunately, he missed ten games with various injuries and caught only 32 passes.

Ashworth Gone -- The Seahawks cut ties with utility offensive lineman Tom Ashworth today. Acquired as a free agent before the 2006 season, the former Patriots started six games and gained notoriety for missed blocks at the left tackle position. Ashworth was scheduled to make $2 million in base salary in 2008, and his release will cost the team only $600,000 this season if it's submitted to the league as a post-June 1st designation.

Seahawks Checking Out a DVD? -- Free agent running back T.J. Duckett was reported to have visited the Seahawks recently. The six-year veteran has played for the Falcons, Redskins and Lions. The 6'0", 254-pound back never found a good fit with Detroit in 2007, but he was part of the vaunted "DVD" backfield with Michael Vick and Warrick Dunn in Atlanta from 2002 through 2005. Duckett could help the Seahawks in short-yardage situations.


Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET, a staff writer for Football Outsiders, and he writes NFL previews for the New York Sun. Feel free to e-mail Doug here.

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