KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks have re-signed Bobby
Engram to a multiyear contract even though they already have a
stable of younger, richer receivers.
Team president Tim Ruskell said Friday that experience and
Engram's rapport with wide receivers Darrell Jackson, Deion Branch
and Nate Burleson, among others, were the main reasons the
34-year-old is coming back for a seventh season in Seattle.
Terms were not immediately available. Engram's agent, Mitch
Frankel, did not immediately return calls.
Engram, the Seahawks' leading receiver in 2005, played in just
seven games last season after a virus and Graves' disease in
October caused a thyroid condition, an accelerated heart rate,
debilitating fatigue and weight loss. He remained a team leader
throughout his illness, attending practices and specifically
advising Branch and Burleson, who were in their first seasons with
"We are glad to retain Bobby," Ruskell said. "He has been an
integral part of this offense in recent seasons and will continue
to bring veteran leadership in the locker room."
The Seahawks are moving toward Branch and Burleson replacing
Jackson and Engram as their primary receivers. Seattle gave Branch
a six-year, $39 million contract with $13 million in bonuses and
other guarantees last September, after it traded its first-round
choice in next month's draft to New England for the Patriots'
holdout. About $23 million is due over the first three years of the
deal to Branch, who turns 28 in July.
Burleson, a Seattle native who will turn 26 in August, also got
a contract last year worthy of more than a third receiver: $49
million over seven years. That deal included $5.25 million
guaranteed. It also cost Seattle a third-round draft pick, the
price of signing the restricted free agent from Minnesota.
Jackson, a 28-year-old who led the NFL in touchdown receptions
for much of last season, will be making a base salary of $3.25
million in 2007. He is currently signed through 2009, though the
Seahawks were reportedly shopping Jackson as a part of a possible
Seattle also appears to have emerging D.J. Hackett, for one more
season, anyway. The speedy, 6-foot-2, fifth-round draft choice from
2004 had 45 catches and four touchdowns -- double his total from the
previous two seasons -- in 2006.
The Seahawks have signed Hackett, a restricted free agent, to a
one-year tender offer. Hackett's agent, Jack Mills, said earlier
this month that his client is currently gauging other teams'
interest -- but that because another team would have to give Seattle
a second-round pick to sign Hackett, the 25-year-old is likely and
happy to be back with the Seahawks this season.
Engram signed with Seattle in 2001 after spending five seasons
with Chicago. He has played in 80 games, 43 of them starts, for the
Seahawks. His best season came with Jackson hurt for much of 2005,
when Engram led the team with 67 catches for 778 yards, with three
Engram ranks sixth in Seattle history in receptions (258),
seventh in yards receiving (3,223) and 10th in touchdowns receiving
(12). For his career, the former Penn State star has 504 catches
for 6,054 yards and 29 touchdowns.