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Source: Free-agent Winfield agrees to deal with Seahawks

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Associated Press
4/12/2013 9:28:24 PM
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SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks made another impressive off-season move.

Cornerback Antoine Winfield is set to join the Seahawks on a one-year contract, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. ESPN.com first reported Winfield reaching an agreement with the Seahawks. The person spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity because the deal hadn't been officially announced.

Winfield joins one of the most talented defensive backfields in the NFL, likely as an extra cornerback to play in the slot. He is joining a secondary that features two All-Pro's in cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas and past Pro Bowl selections Brandon Browner and Kam Chancellor.

Winfield's resume will fit in with the Seahawks. He's a three-time Pro Bowl selection and was voted All-Pro in 2008. He's arguably one of Minnesota's best free-agent signings and had been with the Vikings since 2004.

But his time in Minnesota came to an abrupt and surprising end in March when the 35-year-old had his contract terminated to clear more salary cap space. Minnesota was reportedly trying to bring Winfield back on a deal that didn't cause such a hit to its salary cap, but he opted for joining the Seahawks.

Winfield was due a $7.25 million salary in 2013. He was one of the most popular players in the Vikings' locker room, Winfield had a hard-hitting style, extensive experience and exceptional tackling ability that made him the soul of the defence for the last nine seasons.

Winfield's playing time was reduced in 2012 to preserve his health, but he had one of the most productive seasons of his career with 11 tackles for loss, three interceptions and 13 passes defended.

Seattle has now addressed most of its glaring off-season needs. The Seahawks took care of defensive line depth with the signings of Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel; got one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL in a trade with Minnesota that landed Percy Harvin; and have now solidified the secondary with Winfield.

Marcus Trufant played the slot cornerback position for Seattle last season, but he was on a one-year deal and struggled at times. Seattle is optimistic in some of its young, developing cornerbacks like Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell, but Winfield gives the Seahawks proven experience.

Winfield played his first five seasons with Buffalo. He has started 173 of 191 career games and has 27 career interceptions.

Antoine Winfield (Photo: Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
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