Manuel, Packers agree on deal

Safety likely to take over for Roman in defensive backfield

The Green Bay Packers reached an agreement today with Seattle's Marquand Manuel on a five-year, $10 million contract, according to

Manuel likely becomes the starter at free safety ahead of Mark Roman next to Nick Collins in the defensive backfield for Green Bay.

Manuel stepped in when starter Ken Hamlin was sidelined during the 2005 season and played well. Manuel is solid in run support and his pass coverage responsibilities did not overwhelm him. Not the swiftest of foot, but is learning to play angles well. Manuel will step in and provide the Packers an upgrade in the defensive backfield.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson is familiar with Manuel, drafted by Cincinnati in the sixth round in 2002. Thompson worked for Seattle in September of 2004 when Manuel was waived by the Bengals and claimed by the Seahawks. Before that, the Packers had looked into the possibility of trading for Manuel. Manuel was a backup to Hamlin in 2004 and early last season till he got an opportunity to start in Week 7 when Hamlin was injured in an off-field incident.

Though Manuel has started 23 of 63 games, he only has one interception. As a four-year player at Florida, including three as a starter, he had six interceptions. Bob Sanders, the Packers' new defensive coordinator, was on the Gators' staff during Manuel's first four years in Gainesville.

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