Writing on the wall for Seahawks' Duckett

August, 25, 2009
8/25/09
12:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Seahawks should have an interesting day when they reconvene for practice Tuesday.

Julius Jones can expect company in Edgerrin James. That means someone has to go, and that someone will likely be the No. 2 running back, T.J. Duckett. Expect Jones to remain the starter, at least for the immediate future, but you can bet James did not accept a No. 3 role.

I expect the Seahawks to introduce James as the No. 2 back once this deal goes through. The team is not going to pay Duckett his $2.5 million salary to be the No. 3 guy, particularly when second-year back Justin Forsett has shined in that role through camp. That would make no sense financially or philosophically.

The Duckett situation has been a strange one from the beginning. Seattle signed him even though then-coach Mike Holmgren didn't have a role for him. Holmgren eventually made Duckett his short-yardage man. Seattle seemed to have signed Duckett with an eye toward Jim Mora's tenure as head coach. Duckett and Mora had been together in Atlanta, after all.

Seattle paid a $2 million signing bonus to Duckett in March 2008. The team guaranteed another $2 million to him in 2009. Duckett's contract counts about $3.3 million against the 2009 cap if he's on the roster and $3.2 million if he is not.

The $4 million in bonus money, which seemed excessive given that Duckett did not appear to be in high demand, is what makes the gap in salary-cap charges negligible. The team would not have to pay Duckett's 2009 salary of $2.5 million upon releasing him, but bonus money scheduled to count against future caps would come due at once.

If Duckett goes, who becomes the Seahawks' third-down back? That's among the questions Mora and the organization can expect to face.

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