Manuel inks deal; WR claimed

Free safety gets five-year, $10 million deal with Packers

The Green Bay Packers made it official Monday by signing Seattle free safety Marquand Manuel to a five-year deal worth $10 million. Manuel is the team's first unrestricted free agent signing in the 'new' league year.

The Packers also claimed Harry Williams on waivers from the New York Jets.

Manuel, 26, took over for Ken Hamlin, who sustained a severe head injury in an off-field incident in Week 7, and started at free safety over the team's final 13 games, including playoffs. In 16 regular-season contests (11 starts), Manuel tied for third on the club with 67 tackles (54 solo), two passes defensed and one fumble recovery. He has yet to make an interception in 59 regular season games, but intercepted a pass in a playoff game Jan. 22 against Carolina.

Manuel's deal reportedly includes $2 million in bonuses. The Packers gave free safety Mark Roman a $700,000 signing bonus in 2004. Manuel is expected to take over for Roman.

Claimed on waivers by the Seahawks on the eve of the 2004 regular season by then-general manager Ted Thompson, Manuel played mostly on special teams and as an extra defensive back in his first year with Seattle. He originally entered the NFL as Cincinnati's sixth-round selection (181st overall) in the 2002 draft. He started nine games over his first two seasons, including eight as a rookie in 2002, before the Bengals waived him following their 2004 preseason.

Over a four-year NFL career that includes 59 games (20 starts), Manuel has 119 tackles (94 solo), five passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

A prep All-American at Miami (Fla.) Senior High School, Manuel became a three-year starter for the Florida Gators, garnering Southeastern Conference All-Academic honors. One of 18 children, he earned his degree in criminology and law before finishing his collegiate playing career as a graduate student.

Williams, a 6-foot-2, 186-pound wide receiver from Tuskegee, played in one game during his 2005 rookie season.

Packer Report Top Stories