Antoine Winfield is joining the Seahawks (USA Today Sports Images)
The Seattle Seahawks and free agent cornerback Antoine Winfield have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the deal is for $3 million, with $1 million guaranteed, and that Winfield passed on a similar fully-guaranteed deal from the Minnesota Vikings, his former team.
"I'm definitely excited about the opportunity to play in Seattle. They're a great football team. Those guys did an excellent job last season," Winfield said. "They're young, athletic and energetic. I'm excited to play with Richard [Sherman], Brandon [Browner], Kam [Chancellor] and Earl [Thomas] because they're some of the most talented players on defense in the NFL right now."
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Winfield is expected to be the Seahawks' nickel corner, covering the opponents' slot receivers while the much taller Sherman (6-foot-3) and Browner (6-foot-4) play on the outside. Veteran Marcus Trufant handled those duties for much of the 2012 season, but remains a free agent who will likely have to look elsewhere to continue his career now that Winfield is headed to Seattle.
Between Sherman, Browner, Winfield, Chancellor and Thomas, the Seahawks arguably have the NFL's best secondary.
Winfield, 35, is a three-time Pro Bowler who has spent last nine seasons with the Vikings after beginning his NFL career as a 1999 first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills. Over the last 14 seasons, Winfield has 27 interceptions, two he's returned for touchdowns, and 89 passes defensed.
The Vikings were attempting to keep Winfield, who also drew interest from the Washington Redskins this offseason. Financial terms of the Seahawks' contract were not disclosed, but at this point of his career, the opportunity to play for a team capable of going deep into the playoffs was likely more of a factor than money.
"It was a very tough decision for me because of the relationships that I have in Minnesota," Winfield told Anderson. "I've been there nine years. I've had some really great coaches, teammates and fans there. I'm very grateful to the Vikings organization for my experience."
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