Herndon Signs - Could Hartwell Be Next?

The Seahawks signed a new cornerback today...and at the same time, negotiations with a man who might be Seattle's first star MLB in recent memory continue.

Seahawks Sign Herndon - ESPN.com has reported that the Seattle Seahawks have signed Denver Broncos cornerback Kelly Herndon to a five-year, $15 million offer sheet that includes a $4.5 million signing bonus. Since Herndon is a restricted free agent, Denver has seven days to match Seattle's offer.

Herndon, who has played three seasons in the NFL, was involved in 99 percent of Denver's defensive snaps last season even though he was projected to be the No. 3 cornerback behind Champ Bailey and Lenny Walls. According to Stats Inc., Herndon led the league with 23 passes defensed. He also has six career interceptions. At 5'10" and 180 pounds, Herndon is a small but lightning-quick DB, which seems to fit the template of new Seahawks Team Presedent Tim Ruskell. When Ruskell was Tampa Bay's Director of College scouting from 1992 through 2001, he drafted corners such as Ronde Barber and Dwight Smith who had superb skill, but were not the larger defensive backs that tend to be coveted by many teams - both Barber and Smith are 5'10" as well.

However, Herndon will have his hands full in replacing Ken Lucas, the Seahawks' former stud cover corner who recently signed a six-year, $36 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

Originally signed by San Francisco as an undrafted free agent in 1999, Herndon landed on Denver's practice squad in 2001. 2002 saw his promotion to special teams and the occasional start under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes, who currently holds that position in Seattle.

Gaining An Edge On Defense? – In the two weeks that he has been an unrestricted free agent, 26-year old Baltimore Ravens linebacker Edgerton Hartwell has visited Seattle, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Atlanta, Arizona and Kansas City. While Hartwell told Sirius Radio today that all six teams are in the running for his services, two teams seem to be leading the pack. Hartwell recently met with new Cleveland Browns head coach (and former New England defensive coordinator) Romeo Crennel, and just finished up a visit to Seattle that was, by all accounts, extremely successful. Scout.com’s Lane Adkins confirmed that the Seattle visit “went better than expected”. Hartwell is expected to make his decision by this weekend at the latest.

Hartwell, a 6'1", 250-pound middle linebacker from Western Illinois, doesn’t get the props that go along with his stats because of the overwhelming shadow of Ray Lewis. In his four-year career, Hartwell has gained a well-deserved reputation as a stellar run-stuffer. His best year was 2002, when he racked up 144 tackles, but he had over 90 in both 2003 and 2004 as well. And with the Ravens moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 in 2005, Hartwell is the odd man out. He has expressed a keen desire to be the marquee middle linebacker of a team, and in this regard, Seattle’s depleted corps of LBs leaves him a virtually blank canvas to do this.

Some inside sources seem to have Seattle as Hartwell’s ultimate destination.

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