According to Clayton, Brown accepted a two-year, $4 million contract that will pay him $1.5 million in 2005. Brown can earn another $500,000 in incentives based on playing time and performance.
He originally signed a six-year, $24 million contract with the Seahawks in 1997 and re-signed with the team in 2002 for five more years and $28.5 million. He was scheduled to make $4.2 million with the Seahawks in 2005, but his age (he will turn 35 in July) and recent injury history (he played in only 13 games over the last two seasons) had Seattle thinking about restructuring his contract. The team reportedly offered Brown a $1 million deal plus incentives for 2005, while Brown wanted at least $1.5 million guaranteed. The Seahawks decided to release him and use the immediate $2.37 million in cap relief to assist them in signing former Texans linebacker Jamie Sharper and former Titans cornerback Andre Dyson.
In the end, improving the 26th ranked defense in the NFL in 2004 from a general perspective was a more pressing need.
New Seahawks president Tim Ruskell didn’t rule out the possibility of Brown’s return if he had tested the market and found no takers. “Our door will still be open if he doesn't find anything out there. He knows that,” Ruskell said at the press conference announcing Brown’s release.
Given the comments Brown put forth in a Q & A with the Pittsburgh media on April 27, that return was never likely. When asked about the Seahawks, Brown was succinct. “They're not out of the picture, but that bridge is burning and I'd hate to walk on it,” he said.
Brown had narrowed his focus over the last few days to the Patriots and Saints, with New England winning the day based on several factors. Brown will again play in a 3-4 set (which he hadn’t done since his days in Pittsburgh) on a defense that is well-known for its effectiveness and creativity. Brown has but three playoff losses to show for his eight-year term in Seattle. In those eight years, Brown played in 107 games – starting 106 – and recorded 745 tackles (586 solo), 31 passes defensed, 48 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, 13 fumble recoveries, and 3 interceptions.
The bottom line? If Chad Brown can stay healthy in 2005, the New England Patriots just pulled off yet another personnel coup – and it could be the Seahawks who will look back and wonder if they shouldn’t have thrown a few more dollars on the table.Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. Feel free to e-mail him at email@example.com.