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Originally published April 10, 2013 at 8:41 PM | Page modified April 10, 2013 at 8:56 PM

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Reports: Antoine Winfield considering signing with Seattle Seahawks

Antoine Winfield, a physical cornerback with plenty of experience, is reported to be leaning toward signing with the Seahawks.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Success isn't always costly in the NFL.

In fact, it can lead to some incredible bargains, as Seattle may soon find out.

How else do you explain the fact cornerback Antoine Winfield was considering, and according to one report, actually leaning toward agreeing to join the Seahawks on what is almost certainly a short-term, small-budget deal?

That relatively minimal cost comes with plenty of upside. Winfield is a physical cornerback with plenty of experience. He's a three-time Pro Bowler who's tough against the run and could be tailor-made for a role as the third cornerback when the team uses five defensive backs.

Winfield, who turns 36 in June, was released last month after nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings let him go because they weren't willing to pay him $7.25 million this year, but they are still interested in re-signing him at a reduced price for a presumably reduced role.

Winfield's availability speaks to the relatively frigid free-agent market. Charles Woodson, a former NFL defensive player of the year, remains unsigned after he was let go by Green Bay. That Winfield is considering Seattle after visiting the team this week shows how attractive Seattle can be for a veteran looking to hitch on with a winner.

An ESPN report described Seattle as closing in on a deal, while the NFL's official network characterized it as a fluid situation with the Seahawks and Vikings both considerations for Winfield.

His potential addition raised eyebrows and exclamation points among those in Seattle's secondary.

"Looks like we may have another addition to the team," cornerback Richard Sherman said on his Twitter account.

Safety Earl Thomas was even more straightforward.

"Did we sign Antoine Winfield?" he posted. "If so, that's a great pickup for us. I feel like I'm on Madden, drafting players."

Seattle is already set at starting cornerback with Sherman and Brandon Browner. Winfield would most likely project as a nickel back. That's the role Marcus Trufant filled last year, and he remains unsigned. Walter Thurmond, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell are also players who will compete for playing time.

Winfield is 5 feet 9, 160 pounds, but he is known for his ability to provide support at the line of scrimmage.

His interest in the Seahawks shows that either he's looking for leverage to improve his offer from Minnesota, or that he sees an opportunity in Seattle that could become more valuable than just the bottom line on the contract.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil

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