Kerney chooses Seattle

Patrick Kerney signed a six-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks. According to his agent, the deal was worth $39.5 million and included $19.5 million in guaranteed money. Kerney joins Ashley Lelie as the second Falcon free agent to seek greener pastures outside Atlanta.

Only linebacker Keith Brooking has been a Falcon for longer than Patrick Kerney, who came to Atlanta as a first round pick in 1999. Kerney rejoins former Falcons head coach Jim Mora in Seattle. Mora coaches the Seahawks secondary.

Kerney’s career 58 sacks rank third all-time on the Falcons list behind Claude Humphrey and Chuck Smith. This past season, Kerney missed his first action since joining the Falcons. He had played in 121 consecutive games for the Falcons, but that streak ended when he tore a pectoral muscle. Kerney finished the season, making 9 appearances, with 4.5 sacks and 18 tackles. It marked the lowest sack total of Kerney since his first year as a starter, which was 2000.

Kerney voided the last two years of his contract that he signed in 2002, allowing him to hit the free agent market. The Falcons had been in negotiations with him to give him a new contract since December, but an agreement was not able to be reached. Kerney himself, indicated that any changes to the coaching staff would weigh heavily on his decision to return to Atlanta.

Kerney’s departure leaves a void at the defensive end spot. The most likely candidate to fill his job will be Chauncey Davis. Davis started the final seven games of the season at left defensive end in Kerney’s absence. Davis also started seven games in place of John Abraham at the right end spot. He finished the season with 43 tackles and a sack. Defensive end also figures to be a target early in the draft by most accounts.

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Aaron Freeman
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