Like any good safety, Deon Grant needed to have the right type of timing and anticipation.
The Jaguars safety traveled to Seattle after the Seahawks went 1-for-3 in the big free agent sweepstakes, landing defensive end Patrick Kerney but losing guard Kris Dielman and tight end Daniel Graham. Unwilling to lose Grant to the New York Giants or other teams, the Seahawks stepped up and made Grant the third-highest-paid safety in football, giving him a six-year deal worth more than $30 million.
To get the deal done, they gave him a signing bonus that topped the $11.1 million to Roy Williams of the Dallas Cowboys. Though the specifics weren't available, Grant is believed to received the biggest signing bonus ever given to an NFL safety.
Grant flew to Seattle on Thursday night to sign the deal along with his agent, Mitch Frankel.
Ravens safety Ed Reed, who signed a seven-year, $44.4 million contract, and Williams of the Cowboys, who has a five-year, $30.1 million deal, are the league's highest-paid safeties. Grant topped the recent contract signed by Michael Lewis, who got a six-year, $30 million contract to leave the Eagles and go to the 49ers.
The Seahawks wanted Grant for several reasons. They've been having coverage problems at the safety position for the past two seasons. Grant can help them with leadership and athletic ability. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder was a second-round choice of the Panthers in 2000. He signed a three-year, $7.2 million contract to go to Jacksonville in 2004. He's made 96 consecutive starts during his six-year career and he played 93 percent of the Jaguars' defensive snaps last season.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.