Engram's Absence the Big Minicamp Story

Engram's Absence the Big Minicamp Story

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Bobby Engram sat out the team's recently concluded four-day voluntary minicamp because he is upset about a contract that will pay him $1.7 million in his final year.

Engram set a team record last season with 94 receptions and also had a career-high 1,147 yards, but he is its third-highest paid wide receiver, behind oft-injured Deion Branch ($3.5 million) and Nate Burleson ($3.25 million).

This year, Engram will be expected to carry the bulk of the load among the receivers because Branch, who had reconstructive knee surgery in January, will miss at least part of the season, D.J. Hackett departed via free agency and the team has young wideouts with very little experience.

But the Seahawks say they are not going to negotiate a new deal or an extension for Engram, who is 35 years old.

They point out that two years ago, Engram missed nine games due to a thyroid condition, after which they gave him a two-year contract. At the time, the Seahawks wanted to give him only a one-year deal, but he insisted on two years, which they gave him.

The Seahawks say they are open to negotiating with Engram once he becomes a free agent after this season.

Engram wrote a letter to coach Mike Holmgren, leaving it on his desk before one of the minicamp practices. Ostensibly, the letter explained why Engram felt he needed a new deal. It is not unprecedented. The Seahawks recently tore up the contract of middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu and gave him a new six-year, $42 million deal. They also have had talks with Leroy Hill, who is in the final year of his deal.

But, the Seahawks point out, Tatupu is a 25-year-old three-time Pro Bowler whom they do not want to allow to get on the open market, while Engram is in the twilight of his career.

The Seahawks do not seem worried that Engram will fail to show up for training camp. After all, he was at the team's mandatory three-day camp prior to the voluntary camp.

"We need Bobby," Holmgren said. "He is one of our best offensive players. This isn't the first time something like this has happened. There are business decisions to be made. I hope they work it out."

NOTES, QUOTES

--RG Rob Sims had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and will be out four to six weeks. He will miss the team's next two minicamps but should be available for training camp.

--RB T.J. Duckett, signed as a free agent in March, has relationships on the Seahawks that makes his transition from Detroit easier. He played in Atlanta for Jim Mora and with Omare Lowe and Patrick Kerney, and he went on a recruiting trip to Notre Dame with Julian Peterson before both decided to attend Michigan State. "People don't think about this, but the hardest part about playing for four teams in four years is moving every year. Having these guys here makes it easier," Duckett said.

--OT Walter Jones, C Chris Spencer, DE Patrick Kerney, WR Deion Branch, DT Marcus Tubbs, LB Will Herring, OT Ray Willis and DT Rocky Bernard all did not participate in the team's mini-camps because they are recovering from surgery.

--Thirty-seven-year-old guard Chris Gray said he considered retiring after last season. But Mike Holmgren talked him out of it. Gray will finally fill in as a backup, serving as a reserve center and reserve guard.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's like a golf ball in high grass: Lost." -- Defensive coordinator John Marshall on the technique work that fourth-round draft pick Red Bryant needs.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: CB Marcus Trufant (tendered at $9.465M); signed a long-term contract.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--TE Ben Joppru is used almost exclusively on special teams and often is hindered by injuries. The team could take him or leave him.

--LS Jeff Robinson solidified a position that was a circus all season. However, Robinson is going to be 38 years old. It remains to be seen if he will return.

--RB Josh Scobey signed with only a few games left in the season, broke his leg in the team's playoff game against the Packers and is unlikely to be re-signed.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

--RB Alvin Pearman (not tendered as RFA) was one of the team's kick returners until a knee injury in Week 4 ended his season. His return is questionable.

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