Matt Hasselbeck’s already-demanding job of Seattle Seahawks quarterback just got tons tougher. So did Seattle coach Mike Holmgren’s.
For years, the Seahawks had the comfort of knowing at the end of close games they had Josh Brown and his remarkably accurate kicking leg from long range. Hasselbeck didn’t have to heave low-percentage passes into thick coverage to get in closer for a winning field goal.
Holmgren didn’t have to call plays to gain huge chunks of yardage in the 2-minute offense. The coach could use draws, screens and short passes, as he likes to throughout the rest of the game, to merely get the ball to an opponent’s 35-yard line or so.
Brown is in St. Louis after signing a five-year, free-agent contract with the NFC West-rival Rams. Brown gets $14.2 million, with a $4 million signing bonus – the NFL’s largest for a kicker.
“I was kind of nervous about another team in the division and I was like, ‘I’m going to get massacred by the Seattle fans now,’ ” Brown said in St. Louis Saturday. … “But it’s all part of the game.”
Brown set a career high with 127 points last season, sixth most in the league, and made 116 of his 145 field-goal attempts in five seasons. The Seahawks drafted him in the seventh round in 2003 out of Nebraska.
The Seahawks thought Brown was valuable enough to offer a contract worth $14 million, but for what Brown said was more years and with more back-loaded money that was not guaranteed. Last year, the Seahawks cherished him so much they used their lone franchise-player designation on him, something they were forced to use on Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Trufant this year instead.
Jets put Faneca on top
The New York Jets and seven-time Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca agreed to terms on a five-year, $40 million contract, making the former Pittsburgh player the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.
Agent Rick Smith told the Associated Press that the 31-year-old Faneca planned to fly to New York today, take a physical and officially sign the deal Monday. After making nearly $4.4 million in salary and bonuses last season, Faneca got a huge deal that Smith said includes $21 million in guarantees.
Bills fill big need
With big-bodied Marcus Stroud securing the middle of the Buffalo Bills defensive line, it’ll be much tougher for opponents to push them around.
“It helps us out tremendously,” Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said after the Bills acquired the three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle in a trade with Jacksonville. “He’s a guy that will take on two people on offense, so you definitely have to game-plan against him.”
Stroud’s addition becomes the Bills’ latest and most significant move to revamp a porous defense that finished 31st in the NFL in yards allowed last season.
Around the league
Two days into the NFL’s free agency period, Philadelphia is 2 for 2. Free-agent defensive end Chris Clemons signed a five-year contract, one day after the Eagles added All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel. … Detroit traded Shaun Rogers to Cleveland for cornerback Leigh Bodden and a third-round pick in the April draft. The deal was announced one day after a trade fell through that would have shipped the talented but inconsistent defensive tackle to Cincinnati for third- and fifth-round picks. … The Browns added another prime target for newly re-signed quarterback Derek Anderson, agreeing with New England veteran Donte’ Stallworth on a seven-year contract. … New Orleans re-signed wide receiver Devery Henderson and terminated linebacker Brian Simmons‘ contract. … Miami signed linebacker Reggie Torbor and three others. … Former Dallas cornerback Jacques Reeves signed with Houston. … Free-agent linebacker Lance Briggs re-signed with the Chicago Bears, agreeing to a six-year deal.