The Seattle Seahawks continue to put together a very strong offseason as they have agreed to terms with CB Antoine Winfield per a source.
The deal was first reported by Josina Anderson of ESPN.com. Anderson reports the deal is for one-year, $3 million.
Winfield was released by the Minnesota Vikings on the eve of free agency last month. According to Dan Wiederer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Winfield had been working out at the Vikings facility when the team called him upstairs to let him know they were releasing him.
Per a source close to Winfield, the Vikings had not engaged in any talks with him about possibly restructuring his contract or given any indication that he wasn't going to be on the Vikings going forward before he was abruptly released. The move didn't sit well with Winfield's camp.
The Vikings genuinely wanted Winfield back in Minnesota and were constantly in contact with Winfield's representatives the last couple weeks. Yet Winfield still decided to visit the Seahawks early this week. He was in town Monday-Tuesday for a visit with a team and took a physical on Tuesday morning.
Winfield had every chance to re-sign with the Vikings prior to his visit with the Seahawks if that's where he wanted to be and Winfield still decided to trip to Seattle. It showed how serious his interest in the Seahawks was. Seattle had more cap space available with $8.9 million in room while the Vikings had only $4.4 million. The Washington Redskins also were interested in Winfield but had only $29,494 in cap space.
A source said Winfield enjoyed his his visit to Seattle and was particularly impressed with the Seahawks practice facility.
Winfield will fill a much-needed role for Seattle as the nickel cornerback for the Seahawks. Winfield could also challenge CB Brandon Browner for his starting job as well as he had a very strong season last year in Minnesota. Winfield is one of the best cornerbacks in the league against the run and is outstanding at diagnosing plays at the line of scrimmage.
UPDATE: The Seahawks have officially announced the signing of Winfield.
As initially reported, the deal has a total valuation of $3 million for one year. Winfield will make $1 million in base salary with a $500,000 signing bonus and a $500,000 roster bonus. The final $1 million is tied to "not likely to be earned" incentives (NLTBE).
NLTBE incentives are a specific designation under the league's collective bargaining agreement and it alters how the money affects a team's salary cap. At present, only $2 million of Winfield's contract counts against the Seahawks salary cap.
In order to earn the final $1 million, Winfield needs to play on 55-percent of the team's defensve snaps (the lowest mark possible for NLTBE incentives) and collect four interceptions. Both marks appear to be well within reach.
Winfield played approximately 90-percent of the defensive snaps for the Minnesota Vikings last year but hasn't recorded four interceptions in a season since 2006. However, with the strength of the rest of the Seahawks secondary, Winfield could get more opportunities for interceptions with Seattle.
If Winfield achieves the marks, the extra $1 million would be applied to Seattle's salary cap at the end of the season.
According to a source, it would have been very difficult for the Seahawks to be able to sign Winfield if not for the trade of QB Matt Flynn to Oakland. Talks with Winfield didn't pick up until after Flynn was moved. Also, with the team having to account for possible extensions for S Kam Chancellor, S Earl Thomas, CB Richard Sherman and QB Russell Wilson in upcoming years, the Seahawks may not have had the room to add Wilson without getting Flynn's salary off the books.