Seattle signs Taylor

Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2004

Bobby Taylor agreed to a four-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks, reuniting with former Eagles coach Ray Rhodes.

The cornerback, who spent all nine of his NFL seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, replaces Shawn Springs, who signed with the Washington Redskins this month. Taylor should bolster a pass defense that finished 27th in the NFL.

His agent, Jason Medlock, said Wednesday the deal is a four-year contract worth $11.8 million with a $3 million signing bonus. With performance incentives, Taylor could earn up to $15.75 million.

Also Wednesday, the Green Bay Packers were granted permission by Cleveland to talk with quarterback Tim Couch, whose days with the Browns appear to be dwindling.

Browns spokesman Todd Stewart said the Packers called requesting a chance to speak with Couch and Cleveland gave its approval. Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey said the team had no comment.

Couch's five-year stint with the Browns effectively ended earlier this month when the club signed free-agent quarterback Jeff Garcia to a four-year deal.

Medlock said one reason Taylor signed with Seattle was Rhodes, now the Seahawks' defensive coordinator. Rhodes was coach of the Eagles from 1995-98.

Taylor is the fourth starter to leave the Eagles in free agency, joining five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Troy Vincent (Buffalo), running back Duce Staley (Pittsburgh) and linebacker Carlos Emmons (New York Giants).

Taylor missed nine games with a foot injury last season, but played in Philadelphia's two playoff games. He finished with 28 tackles and one interception. Taylor's best season was in 2002, when he had five interceptions, 49 tackles and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

Taylor has 19 career interceptions and two more in 12 playoff games.

The Browns told Couch's agent, Tom Condon, he could discuss a deal outside the AFC North for his client. Stewart said the Packers were the first team to call.

Green Bay could be looking for a backup and potential successor to Brett Favre, who is nearing the end of his career and has hinted in the past about retiring. The Packers' current backup is journeyman Doug Pederson, and Couch would be a significant upgrade.

Couch's rocky tenure in Cleveland came to a crashing end when the Browns did an about-face and dropped contract talks with him to pursue Garcia.

Couch was caught off-guard by the Browns' sudden disinterest in him. He had turned down an offer to restructure his $15.6 million contract over the next two years when the club asked him to take a 58 percent pay cut.

The low offer was another blow to Couch, who after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft by Cleveland, survived five difficult years with the Browns.

In other moves Wednesday:

The Kansas City Chiefs reached agreements on one-year contracts with three restricted free agents: linebacker Monty Beisel, running back Derrick Blaylock and defensive tackle Eric Downing.

Defensive end Keith McKenzie re-signed with the Buffalo Bills.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed tight end Ken Dilger. Signed by the Bucs as a free agent in 2002, Dilger has spent the past two seasons with the team, catching 56 passes for 573 yards and three touchdowns in 31 games. He was released by Tampa Bay on March 2 to create salary cap room.

The New York Giants signed cornerback Terry Cousin. The eight-year veteran started 13 games last year for the NFC champion Panthers, with 57 tackles (40 solo), two sacks and five passes defended.

Safety Mark Roman signed with Green Bay after starting every game last season for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Packers also re-signed offensive tackle Kevin Barry.

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