How Houshmandzadeh fits in Seattle

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

T.J. Houshmandzadeh gives the Seahawks a third starting-caliber receiver, with a fourth -- Bobby Engram -- still available as an unrestricted free agent if the team seeks more depth.

Houshmandzadeh, 31, has nearly as many career receptions (507) as 2008 Seattle starters Deion Branch (345) and Nate Burleson (200) combined. His addition gives Seattle additional flexibility in deciding how to use the fourth overall choice in the draft.

The chart lists Seattle's receivers from oldest to youngest, with unrestricted free agents in a lighter font. Houshmandzadeh will be 32 years old this season. His yards per catch have diminished every year since 2004.

I spoke with Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. about this move and he explained how he thinks Houshmandzadeh will affect the Seahawks after leaving the Bengals:

Williamson: That offense last year without Carson Palmer was the least vertically inclined offense you will ever find. [Ryan] Fitzpatrick doesn't have the arm. They couldn't protect. Chad Johnson became very ineffective because he is the deep threat. Houshmandzadeh was the move-the-chains guy, so it didn't affect him very much.

That said, Houshmandzadeh is not a vertical guy. He is not a true No. 1. I think he is a really good complementary guy. Chad Johnson was the better football player every year. He always demanded the better attention, the better corner and he was a do-it-all guy. Houshmandzadeh was a lot more reliable and Palmer loved him, but he is limited. He is not going to hit the bomb for you. That makes defending him much easier.

He fits the West Coast offense well. You'll see quick-timing routes. He catches everything. He catches the ball away from his frame, uses his body well. He is more quick than fast, but he does a nice job on those short-to-intermediate timing routes that the West Coast offense thrives on. It's a good fit.

Deion Branch and Nate Burleson should be happy in the end. They will benefit more. John Carlson, too. If I am the defensive coordinator for the other team, I am going to take away Houshmandzadeh first and that could open up those other guys. He is now their most dangerous guy, but not a true No. 1. I think there are 12 to 15 true No. 1s.

Branch becomes a heck of a No. 2 if healthy. Burleson becomes a heck of a No. 3 and Carlson, if he can go against outside linebackers all day, should do well. They are both over-the-middle, red zone guys. They will work similar areas of the field, Carlson from the inside and Houshmandzadeh from the outside.