Are Seahawks the Only Bidders for Marshall?

With this year's draft fast approaching, it is becoming more apparent that the Seattle Seahawks are the only team clearly interested in securing the services of Denver Broncos restricted free agent Brandon Marshall.

And that bodes well for Seattle ultimately bringing the star receiver to Seattle. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll addressed the situation while talking to reporters at the NFL owners meeting, stating that his team remains interested in Marshall and that there has been preliminary negotiations between Seahawks general manager John Schneider and Marshall's agent, Kennard McGuire.

"There has been some talk," Carroll said. "John has handled that so far. But it's very preliminary."

Seattle hosted Marshall for a weekend visit three weeks ago, flying Marshall and his fiancee to the team's facilities on the banks of Lake Washington by Seaplane. Marshall reportedly enjoyed his visit, talking to receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh during his trip and also meeting with offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch, who both know Marshall from their time coaching in Denver.

"We're friends, and when he was up here we talked," Houshmandzadeh said.

"But there's a lot that goes into it, you know, satisfying what Denver wants and satisfying what he wants contractually. So there's a lot of things that go into play. And if it doesn't happen, then we've got to make do with what we've got."

Marshall is a restricted free agent, and the Broncos tagged him with a first-round tender, meaning any team that signs Marshall to an offer sheet would have to give up a first-round pick as compensation if Denver doesn't match the offer.

For Seattle, that would mean the Seahawks would be on the hook to give up the team's No. 6 overall pick in next month's draft. If the Seahawks sign an offer sheet for Marshall, Denver has seven days to match the offer, or let Marshall go for Seattle's No. 6 overall pick.

However, a second option exists where the Seahawks and Broncos essentially do a sign-and-trade deal. Like the first option, the Seahawks and Marshall would negotiate terms for a new deal. Once that's in place, the Broncos, who want to part ways with Marshall anyway, could negotiate terms for compensation they would receive from Seattle for the right to sign Marshall.

Under that scenario, Denver would not necessarily receive Seattle's No. 6 pick as compensation. The Broncos might settle for Seattle's No. 14 overall pick, which the Seahawks received in a draft-day trade from Denver last season. However, with no other team emerging as a potential suitor for Marshall's services, the Seahawks could offer the team's second-round pick along with a fourth rounder and see if the Broncos are willing to take that as compensation.

Regardless of how the deal eventually shakes out, Seattle appears to have done its homework on Marshall, and the team is biding its time as April's draft nears.

"Just like any other aspect of building a football team we're looking for the best guys we can possibly find," Carroll said. "See what we can do with him and see what his individual situation holds and there's a chance you can find a way to get him."

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--The Seahawks, looking to improve the interior of the offensive line, had Houston Texans unrestricted free agent offensive guard Chester Pitts in for a visit.

Pitts played left guard for the Texans under current Seahawks offensive line coach Alex Gibbs, so he would be a good fit for Seattle's zone blocking scheme.

However, after starting 16 games for seven straight seasons, Pitts had microfracture knee surgery in 2009, missing the final 14 games of the year. So there are some concerns about his ability to come back from the injury. And he's 30 years old, so Seattle needs to make sure they do their homework, particularly after Walter Jones struggled to get back on the field after microfracture knee surgery a year ago.

Pitts could be a replacement for Rob Sims, who started at left guard last year for Seattle. A restricted free agent, Sims has not signed his tender and the team is looking to trade him.

--The Baltimore Ravens announced that they have signed Seattle unrestricted free agent Cory Redding to a two-year deal.

Redding came to Seattle via trade from Detroit during the free agency period in 2009 for linebacker Julian Peterson and a fifth-round draft pick.

Redding's play was uneven for Seattle. He finished with 20 tackles and two sacks, starting three games for the Seahawks and playing defensive end and defensive tackle.

He'll play defensive tackle for Baltimore in the team's 3-4 scheme, which should be a good fit for his skill set. Redding replaces Dwan Edwards, who signed a four-year, $18 million deal with Buffalo. Edwards visited Seattle early in the free agency period.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had mentioned Redding as one of the players defensively he noticed during his film evaluation of the team.

--Count T.J. Houshmandzadeh among the many people surprised by Seattle's trade for San Diego restricted free agent quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. However, even with Whitehurst's lack of game experience, Houshmandzadeh said he is accepting of the move.

"I was shocked to be honest with you," he said. "But the people that make the decisions, our decision makers, if they feel like he's going to come in and help us and push Matt or be the starter, or whatever it may be, then you've got to be all for it."

--The Seahawks picked up one compensatory pick at the end of the seventh round, the No. 245 pick overall. According to the league's collective bargaining agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than acquired in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

Seattle received a compensatory pick because they lost four players in free agency (Rocky Bernard, Maurice Morris, Leonard Weaver and Floyd Womack) and signed three players in free agency (Colin Cole, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and John Owens).

The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four.

Seattle has nine picks in this year's draft -- two in the first round, one in the second round, two in the fourth round, one in the fifth round, one in the sixth round and two in the seventh round.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're all going to look good. I'm going to look great, and he's going to look great when there's nobody in front of us. It just matters when we get people coming in front of us how we look." -- Seahawks wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, on running routes for new quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

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