Houshmandzadeh signs with Seahawks

According to the National Football Post, free agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Seahawks. The deal also includes $15 million in guarantees.

Barring any last-second problems, free agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh will sign a multi-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks, according to sources close to the situation.

According to the source, the Seahawks have offered close to $2 million more than the closest competitor in the race for Houshmandzadeh’s services.

An eight-year veteran out of Oregon State, Houshmandzadeh caught 92 passes for 904 yards and 4 touchdowns in 15 starts for the Bengals last season.

In addition to the Seahawks, the Vikings and Bengals were pursing Houshmandzadeh.

Well…slap…me…hard. I thought Housh would wind up in Minnesota after the Vikes made a decent push this weekend and if not there, surely back in Cincinnati where the Bengals seemed to be offering the most money. Out of the top three choices, I would have ranked Seattle third as Housh’s likely destination. Yikes.

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Housh to sign with Vikings soon?

Perhaps the biggest name still left on the free agent market is wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who appears poised to sign with the Vikings if you read between the lines.

When the free agency period began last Friday, Housh set up a visit with the Seahawks. He left Seattle without signing a contract, however, and despite rumors that the Lions, Bengals and Bears were interested, Housh headed to Minnesota for a visit with the Vikings on Saturday.

He hasn’t left Minnesota since.

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Houshmandzadeh to visit Seahawks

According to FOXSports.com, free agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh will make a visit to Seattle on Friday.

T.J. HoushmandzadehHoushmandzadeh has averaged 89 catches for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns in five seasons as a Bengals starter. But he also will be 32 in September, which may scare some teams from offering the lucrative long-term contract Houshmandzadeh is seeking.

The Seahawks failed to have a wide receiver crack the 500-yard mark in 2008 — the first time that had happened in a non-strike season since the franchise’s inception in 1976.

Two of Seattle’s top four receivers — Bobby Engram and Koren Robinson — are now free agents.

Hopefully Housh enjoys blocking because if he signs with Seattle, he’ll be doing a lot of it in Greg Knapp’s West Coast Offense. Not that he wouldn’t be a fit for the Seahawks because they do need dependable wide receivers (some mock drafts have the Hawks taking Texas Tech wideout Michael Crabtree in the first round), but Knapp has been known to frustrate receivers before (Terrell Owens and Peerless Price are just two examples) and Housh isn’t the type to bite his tongue if he’s unhappy about his role.

Housh also told ESPN 950 that if the Eagles want him that he’d, “be an Eagle tomorrow.” But does Philly want him?

NFL Free Agency: No deal for Warner, Colts re-sign Saturday, Rex Grossman the Lion?

According to NFL.com, Kurt Warner and the Cardinals remain far apart on a new contract, which means the quarterback will hit the open market at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning. Warner is still likely to re-sign with Arizona, but the Cards can’t feel entirely comfortable that he’ll be allowed to test the market.

– Despite saying he would like to play for the Steelers, Jeff Saturday re-signed with the Colts for three more years. Saturday was apparently willing to play guard if he went to Pittsburgh, but he’s a fan favorite in Indianapolis and apparently well liked by new head coach Jim Caldwell.

– Free agent quarterback Rex Grossman (Bears) says he would be interested in playing for the Lions next season. He must think he can beat out the other 95 quarterbacks that Detroit has on its roster.

The National Football Post is reporting that there’s a 70% chance that T.J. Houshmandzadeh stays a Bengal. Not that the report is inaccurate by any means, but I highly doubt Housh stays in Cincy if a contender comes along and outbids the Bengals. Still, this is positive news for Cincy fans.

– In a series of moves, the Dolphins signed free agent free safety Gibril Wilson, who was cut by the Raiders earlier this week, and re-signed strong safety Yeremiah Bell to a new four-year, $20 million contract.

According to FOXSports.com, the Cowboys are reportedly shopping strong safety Roy Williams. So if any team is in need of an extra linebacker that they can line up at safety, Williams might be their guy.

Offseason Blueprint: Cincinnati Bengals

Notable Free Agents: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR; Stacy Andrews, OT; Shayne Graham, K (franchised); Eric Ghiaciuc, C; Cedric Benson, RB; Brandon Johnson, LB; Chris Crocker, FS.

Projected 2009 Cap Space: $22,000,000

Draft Order: 6

Top Needs: Depending on what players the Bengals choose to re-sign, the team needs to make major additions to the offensive line and could use a boost at defensive end. Running back and wide receiver will be two positions owner/GM Mike Brown looks at, as well.

Offseason Outlook: Cap-wise, the Bungles aren’t in bad shape but they’ve got major question marks heading into the offseason.

The team decided not to use a franchise tag on wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who more than likely will jet as soon as he officially becomes a free agent at the end of the month. And considering Cincy decided to franchise kicker Shayne Graham, there’s a good possibility they’ll lose running back Cedric Benson this offseason, too.

You can already see the wheels turning in Mike Brown’s head. If he’s unable to re-sign Housh and Benson, he might look to draft one of the skill positions with the sixth overall pick, which would be a mistake. Adding a dynamic receiving prospect like Michael Crabtree or a big back like Chris “Beanie” Wells won’t get you very far if the offensive line remains a mess.

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