Contract is worth $17.5 million

The Seahawks beat out the Bengals and Jaguars to reach a five-year, $17.5 million agreement to sign former Texans linebacker Jamie Sharper, considered one of the best players still available.

Sharper, who will get a $1.5 million signing bonus, visited the Seahawks last Thursday and Friday but left without a deal and was in serious discussions with the Bengals. When he was with the Ravens as defensive coordinator, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis coached Sharper. In the end, Sharper decided the money and opportunity to play in Seattle were the best.

For the Seahawks, Sharper is expected to play strong-side linebacker even though he also has the ability to help them at middle. There are plenty of openings at linebacker. Outside linebacker Anthony Simmons was released. Middle linebacker Orlando Huff signed a four-year deal with the Cardinals. The Seahawks are asking outside linebacker Chad Brown to take a $3.2 million pay cut from his $4.2 million salary, and if he doesn't accept he may also be cut.

The 30-year-old Sharper has never missed a game since coming into the NFL with the Ravens in 1997. He's had four consecutive 100-plus tackle seasons and has 831 total tackles during his nine-year NFL career. He spent the past three seasons with the Texans.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.