Seahawks sign running back Julius Jones
AP Sports Writer
Mike Holmgren wasn't just appeasing the fan base when the Seahawks coach said fixing Seattle's anemic running game was a priority.
Now the Seahawks have quite the logjam in their backfield after officially signing free agent Julius Jones to a multiyear contract Monday. Terms were not released, but it's reportedly a four-year deal.
The question now is will someone be removed to clear up the rock-pile in Seattle's backfield, and who?
Last week, Seattle signed T.J. Duckett to a five-year deal, and with Jones' addition, they now have four running backs under contract for the 2008 season, including the two incumbents: 2005 league MVP Shaun Alexander and capable backup Maurice Morris.
Depending on the amount and structure of Jones' contract, the Seahawks have nearly $6.1 million committed in base salary to Alexander, Duckett and Morris for the 2008 season. That could squeeze an already tight fit for Seattle under the salary cap.
Messages left for Jones' representatives were not immediately returned.
Jones, who spent his first four seasons in Dallas, is two years removed from the only 1,000-yard season of his career, when he rushed for 1,084 yards and four touchdowns in 2006. Last year, Jones was displaced in favor of Pro Bowler Marion Barber, and rushed for only 588 yards and two scores, the lowest numbers of his career.
Jones will turn 27 in August.
Seattle has dedicated this offseason to remodeling its running game, hiring former Kansas City offensive coordinator Mike Solari as offensive line coach and signing former Pro Bowl offensive guard Mike Wahle.
Duckett's signing was thought to potentially be a complement to Alexander to help Seattle mostly in short-yardage situations the Seahawks' have struggled with the last two seasons. But the Jones' signing could be an indication the team is going in a different direction. Jones is also a capable pass catcher with 35 receptions in 2005 and 23 last season.
Seattle's running game has significantly fallen off since Alexander was the league MVP. That season he rushed for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns as the Seahawks reached the Super Bowl.
Alexander has been injured and ineffective since, and Seattle averaged just 4.0 yards per carry in 2006 and 3.8 last season.
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