In the first of what could be several trades in the days preceding the draft or even during the lottery, the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday acquired veteran safety Mike Green from the Chicago Bears in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
A six-year veteran whose résumé includes 45 starts, Green had fallen out of favor with Chicago coaches and team officials, and became extraneous because of the young depth the Bears have acquired. In addition to standout strong safety Mike Brown, the Bears' depth chart includes Chris Harris, Todd Johnson and Brandon McGowan, all of whom garnered significant playing time in 2005.
Harris, a sixth-round draft choice in 2005, started 13 games as a rookie. His strong performance helped to bump Green to the bench. And Green's contract, given that he was no longer regarded by the Bears as a potential starter, made retaining him too expensive.
Acquiring Green, who entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft choice in 2000, fills a glaring need for the defending NFC champion Seahawks. The team lost starter Marquand Manuel to Green Bay in free agency. And while standout safety Ken Hamlin has been cleared for increased activities by his doctor, there are no guarantees yet that the three-year veteran will return whole from the severe head injuries he suffered last year when attacked outside a Seattle restaurant.
Seattle officials have been seeking a veteran safety during the offseason and may further address their needs in the secondary through the draft. Green has experience starting at both safety spots.
Green has appeared in 81 regular-season games. The former Northwestern (La.) State standout has 437 career tackles, six sacks, four interceptions and 27 passes defensed. Green posted over 100 tackles each in 2002 and 2004. But injuries and the emergence of Harris and the other younger players resulted in him getting only three starts, his fewest since 2001.
There was speculation at the league trade deadline last October that Green might be dealt away. Even when he wasn't, it was still obvious he might not return to the Bears for 2006.
Under his existing contract, Green has scheduled base salaries of $1.385 million (2006), $1.615 million (2007) and $1.45 million (2008).