Leon Washington was locked up by the Seattle Seahawks this week. Washington was given a four-year contract by Seattle, keeping him with the organization through the 2014 season. It is a nice reward for putting up a great year with the Seahawks last season, and it should keep Washington happy for a while now. During the 2010 regular season, Washington proved that he is one of the best return men in the game, and he routinely forced opposing teams to adjust their kicking game to account for him.
According to ESPN, Washington’s new deal is for around $12.5 million, but could move up to a maximum value of $16 million if he reaches certain incentives during the contract. Washington also receives $3.5 million in guaranteed money within the contract, but it doesn’t sound like he was given a signing bonus. If that is truly the case, then Seattle agreed to a great contract here, possibly saving a lot of money to pursue a free agent at another position later on. It is also possible that they have to save that money to deal with their quarterback situation.
In the 2010 regular season, Washington had 1,461 kick return yards, with three of his returns coming all the way back for touchdowns. Washington even posted two kick returns for touchdowns in one game against the Chicago Bears, including a 101-yard return. In addition to his kick return duties, Washington also returned 22 punts for 249 yards, caught nine passes for 79 yards, and rushed 27 times for 100 yards and a touchdown. He was definitely a player who helped Seattle in many different facets of the game, and now he can do that through the 2014 season, by which time the Seahawks expect to be one of the elite teams in the NFL.
This at least answers one of the questions for the Seahawks, who are heading into an offseason that could lead to quite a few changes. Starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck still hasn’t signed a new deal with the team, leaving them with just Charlie Whitehurst at the position. There have also been rumors around the NFL that the Seahawks might pursue Carson Palmer of the Cincinnati Bengals. Palmer played at USC for new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, linking them in a fashion that might make a good team in the NFL. Those rumors have never been confirmed, though, and that might be to the benefit of the Seahawks.
With the 2011 NFL Draft coming up soon, at least Seattle won’t have to address their kick return needs anymore, especially with all of the holes the Seahawks had to overcome to win the NFC West last season.
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