Seahawks Reach Agreement With Peterson

It's official - the Seattle Seahawks now possess one of the NFL's dominant linebacker trios.

As first reported by NFL.com's Adam Schefter, the Seahawks have reached an agreement with former San Francisco linebacker Julian Peterson. The deal is said to be for seven years and $54 million, with approximately $18.5 million in guaranteed money, including $10 million in 2006.

A Seahawks official confirmed the agreement in principle with Schefter.

Peterson will join Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill to form one of the more dominant linebacker trios in the league. Peterson amassed 82 tackles, 3 sacks and 5 passes defensed in 2005, one year after surgery on a torn Achilles tendon. Nonetheless, San Francisco made Peterson their franchise player in 2005.

We asked Craig Massei, the Publisher of SFIllustrated, Scout.com's 49ers site, what kind of player the Seahawks would be getting in Peterson.

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 20: Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked by Julian Peterson #98 of the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL game on November 20, 2005 at Monster Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

"I got to know Peterson well over the years - he's a great, stand-up guy and has pretty much been the team's best defensive player of the 21st century," Massei said. "It's arguable that's he has been the team's best player - regardless of position - over the six years he was with the 49ers. He's 6-foot-3, 235 pounds of totally ripped, lean muscle, and he plays bigger. His speed and explosion are what separates him from other elite linebackers, but it was different last year after he came back from his torn (left) Achilles tendon that ended his 2004 season in Week 5 against Arizona. 

"But in 2003 - his best year - he had to be the best outside linebacker in the NFL, and I'm including (Derrick) Brooks. Certainly, no other OLB in the league could do the things he did. That year, he was second on the team with 144 tackles, had seven sacks, 14 passes defensed, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. There wasn't a tight end in the league he couldn't cover. There were receivers that he could cover. He was phenomenal. Something definitely was missing last year during his comeback from the (Achilles' tear) injury. He still showed flashes of the great ability, but he wasn't the same pass rusher at all, and missed some tackles that were pretty conspicuous in some games. Overall, he just was missing that little something extra that made him so special in 2002-2003, his Pro Bowl years - when opposing offenses had to scheme against him in particular because he created that much havoc and could be that dominant in games.

"Last year, his numbers were 14 starts, 86.5 tackles, three sacks, one fumble recovery, five passes defensed, no forced fumbles, no INTs. Those numbers pretty much reflected the season he had. He had a hamstring problem in October (he said as a result of overcompensating for his Achilles) and missed Week 4 against Arizona, then played in only a couple of series before missing the rest of the game against Indianapolis in Week 5 (so, he actually played in 15 games). However, I'm not saying he had a bad year, because he still had a handful of dominant games, when he looked almost all the way back. I thought he was there around November, but then he kind of fell back and didn't finish strong. He looked like the old Jules with 2.5 sacks in the opener against St. Louis, but then had only 0.5 sacks over the final 15 games. It just didn't look like he had the extra gear to get around OTs like he used to. But, as they say, it takes a full season to come back from a torn Achilles.

"Like a lot of people, I believe he'll be much better in 2006. But will he get back to his 2003 form? That's the question. I know there's a lot of 49ers people who don't think so. Also, last year, he never really looked comfortable in the new 3-4 scheme that (new San Francisco head coach Mike) Nolan brought in. One of the reasons Nolan switched from a standard 4-3 (which the 49ers had run before he got there) to a 3-4 was to highlight Peterson and make him the centerpiece of the defense. So, in that regard, he was a disappointment. But I had to question the way he was used sometimes. He wasn't isolated as a pass rusher enough, and wasn't moved around as much as was promised so that defenses didn't know where he was coming from. Also, he sometimes would be dropped 30-40 yards into coverage (he knocked down a deep pass 40 yards down the field in one game, making a TD-saving play). That didn't make a lot of sense to me. I don't think he was used to the optimum of his ability. 

"But here's what you guys are getting: He's a no let-up player who always plays hard and with intense fire and really developed into a leader in the last few years after being slow to come around in that department earlier in his career. He is about as versatile a linebacker as you'll ever see. He actually started a game at safety against Dallas in 2002, and also played linebacker, defensive end and cornerback in that same game, becoming the first modern-day player ever to record that feat (it was because the team had so many defensive players hurt, and more were hurt in the game). He was a big part of the victory in that December game that clinched San Francisco's only NFC West title in the past eight seasons. 

He's a nice guy, too - a good guy. He had respect here from teammates because of his ability alone, but like I said earlier, he always was a standup guy and never badmouthed the team or anybody involved with it during the entire time he was here. He didn't do a whole lot as a rookie (but had a decent year - seven starts and four sacks), but otherwise, he was one of the best things about this team - in all areas - over the past five years."

Thanks to Craig Massei of SFIllustrated for his exclusive analysis.

Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. Feel free to e-mail him at doug@seahawks.net.


SeahawkFootball.com Top Stories