Seahawks reach six-year agreement with DE Kerney

After two days of negotiations, the Seattle Seahawks reached an agreement with Atlanta Falcons defensive end Patrick Kerney, considered the best remaining free agent on the market.

Kerney, 29, got a six-year, $39.5 million contract that included $19.5 million in guarantees. He was involved in a two-way negotiating battle with the Seahawks and Denver Broncos. The decision was going to be a tough one, but it required a deadline. Kerney and his agents used the length of a flight to make his decision.

Kerney and his agents, Tony Agnone and Rich Rosa, got on a Paul Allen private plane that was taking them to Seattle. They spent the time in the plane deciding the best options. When he left Seattle, Kerney informed the Broncos and Seahawks he would have an answer by the time the plane touched down in Atlanta.

The winner was Seattle.

"It was a very tough decision for him. It was neck and neck to
the end," Rosa said late Monday night. "He felt the better
opportunity to win a championship was in Seattle."

Now another battle brews. The Seahawks and Broncos enter into negotiations Tuesday with New England Patriots tight end Daniel Graham.

Kerney is expected to give the Seahawks a much-needed pass rush. The 6-foot-5, 273-pound defensive end has had three double-digit sack seasons and a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2004. Though hurt by injuries last season, Kerney is still expected to play at a Pro Bowl level.

It probably helped that Kerney got to know Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell when Ruskell worked in Atlanta. Also, Seattle assistant head coach Jim Mora was Kerney's head coach for three seasons in Atlanta.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.