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Originally published March 11, 2005 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 11, 2005 at 3:04 PM

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Seahawks

Hawks willing to trade Alexander

It seems that the price to acquire Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander has gone down. The Seahawks have told the agents who represent...

Seattle Times staff reporter

KIRKLAND — It seems that the price to acquire Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander has gone down.

The Seahawks have told the agents who represent Alexander, the team's franchise player, that they would consider taking less than a first-round pick from a team seeking to trade for him.

The Seahawks say they are interested in making any move that makes the team better — including a trade of Alexander.

The franchise running back does not figure to sign the one-year tender of $6.32 million any time soon and could miss all offseason workouts.

Alexander's representatives, Mark Heligman and Jim Steiner, are still open to working out a long-term contract with the Seahawks. But the sides have not had serious negotiations.

The agents are exploring trade possibilities with other teams and have discussed such opportunities with Seattle.

Those teams could include the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who all have questions at running back.

Arizona could be the best option. The Cardinals have the eighth overall pick in the draft next month and might go after a running back to replace Emmitt Smith. But they have the most salary-cap room of the aforementioned teams — a situation that is amenable to a long-term deal. The team that trades for Alexander would need to have such a contract in place.

Carolina has had injury problems at running back. Stephen Davis had microfracture surgery on his right knee last season, and DeShaun Foster suffered a broken collarbone.

After signing quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and left tackle Walter Jones to big contracts last month, Seattle's best option was to give Alexander the franchise tag, which severely limits his options in free agency but gives the Seahawks trade flexibility.

If no trade materializes, the Seahawks could — as a last resort — rescind the franchise tender, which would immediately make Alexander an unrestricted free agent and credit the team's salary cap.

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But the team presumably would like something of value in exchange for the 2004 NFC rushing leader.

Hawks make pitch for Garcia

Quarterback Jeff Garcia, a former San Francisco 49er and Cleveland Brown, arrived yesterday just before noon for his visit with the Seahawks.

Garcia spent the day meeting with coaches and front-office staff. The team had hoped to sign Garcia before he left town, but no deal was reached.

The Seahawks are apparently not considering bringing back Brock Huard as a backup. Huard, a former Washington Husky and third-round pick of the Seahawks, re-signed with the team last April but spent last season on injured reserve.

Bentley in town

Former Cleveland linebacker Kevin Bentley met with the Seahawks and was given a physical yesterday at team headquarters.

The free agent, who has three years of NFL experience, can play both inside and outside linebacker — positions at which the Seahawks seek starters.

Bentley, 25, is a former fourth-round draft pick of the Browns. They elected not to tender him a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent, which meant that Bentley could sign with the team of his choice and the Browns would get no compensation.

He started 14 of 16 games in 2003 but made just three starts last season after losing his job to veteran Warrick Holdman.

Bentley was used mainly on special teams and on third downs in 2004.

Herndon to visit

Cornerback Kelly Herndon, a restricted free agent from the Denver Broncos, is expected in Kirkland for a visit either today or Monday, his agent said.

Herndon, who has drawn interest from at least four other teams, could come at a very affordable price if the Seahawks want to sign him. The Broncos tendered him at $656,000 for 2005, but since Herndon was not drafted, the team that signs him away from Denver would not have to give up a draft choice as compensation.

The Broncos do have the right to match any offer for Herndon, and he is not ruling out going back to Denver. But Herndon told the Rocky Mountain News last weekend that there is a "pretty strong percentage" that he won't be back.

Herndon, 28, has six interceptions in his three pro seasons.

After being out of football his first two years out of college, he made the Broncos' practice squad in 2001. Three years later, he started every game for Denver and intercepted a Peyton Manning pass in an AFC wild-card game at Indianapolis in January.

Mili set to return

The Seahawks have agreed to terms with tight end Itula Mili, who considered offers from Arizona and New Orleans before returning.

Mili, an eight-year veteran, ended last season as the starter and has been a key contributor over the past three seasons.

He had sought a contract extension as far back as last spring. Terms of his new contract were unavailable.

Notes

• DE Bryce Fisher, a Renton native who spent the past three seasons with the St. Louis Rams, met with the Seahawks yesterday. His agent said Fisher would be happy to play in his hometown.

• Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is leaving today for the NFL competition-committee meetings, which will be followed by the general league meetings next weekend in Maui.

• The Seahawks' first minicamp is not until the weekend after the draft, April 29-May 1. Typically the team has held practices in the first week of April.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

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