RENTON, Wash. — Edgerrin James is Seattle's latest aging star running back, less than a year and half after Shaun Alexander was unceremoniously booted out of town.
The league's leading active rusher signed a one-year contract with the Seahawks on Tuesday night. He's being asked to help revive a rushing offense that has been generally dormant since February 2006, when Alexander was the NFL MVP and Seattle was in its only Super Bowl.
Earlier Tuesday night, Seattle waived fellow veteran running back T.J. Duckett to clear roster space.
"It's official! Congrats to Edgerrin James on signing a 1 year deal with the Seahawks," agent Drew Rosenhaus posted on Twitter late Tuesday.
A team spokesman confirmed the signing moments later. It is believed to be worth about $2 million, though Rosenhaus did not immediately comment on financial terms.
The deal comes 16 months after Seattle released Alexander, when he was 30.
The 31-year-old James is 11th on the NFL rushing list with 12,121 yards but was benched for the first time in his career last season by Arizona. He is expected to practice for the first time with his third NFL team on Wednesday.
Duckett confirmed to The Associated Press in a text message Tuesday night that he had been released. Seattle was at its preseason roster limit and had to shed someone to add James.
The 28-year-old Duckett, who played in Atlanta for current Seahawks coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp from 2004-05, led Seattle with eight touchdowns rushing last season. But he did not start a game in his only season with the Seahawks, and he was relegated by former coach Mike Holmgren to almost exclusively being a short-yardage back.
Knapp is installing his highly successful zone-blocking scheme in Seattle this season, with an offensive line that already is missing three starters to injuries. He had been planning to use a triumvirate to run behind it: Julius Jones, Duckett and elusive, still-developing second-year man Justin Forsett.
In 12 combined seasons, they have rushed for 5,125 fewer yards than James, the 10-year veteran and former star with the Indianapolis Colts. James is within 158 yards of Marcus Allen and Marshall Faulk on the career rushing list, and 191 yards behind Jim Brown for eighth.
"Yeah. I watched 'Edge' quite a bit. I know he's a good back," Jones said. "He's definitely a great back and somebody I've always watched."
James had 794 carries for 2,895 yards and 16 touchdowns in his three seasons in Arizona. He topped 1,000 yards in 2006 and again in 2007, but was benched for seven games early in '08 as the Cardinals went with rookie Tim Hightower.
James asked Arizona to release him then. The Cardinals refused, and he was reinserted into the lineup late in the season. His resurgence during the playoffs gave Arizona the running game it had lacked and sparked the team to James' only Super Bowl.
Before the Cardinals released him, James had one year and $5 million remaining on the four-year, $40 million deal he signed with Arizona before the 2006 season.
Until Tuesday night, the lone veteran tailback remaining on Seattle's roster had been Jones. He now stands to lose carries to James.
"No. I'm not worried about that," said Jones, the former lead back with the Dallas Cowboys. "All I'm working on is trying to get myself better."
Jones practiced for only the second time in 12 days Tuesday following a bruised thigh.
"We'll wait and see," Jones said of Seattle's new running back picture. "I guess in a day or two, it will work itself out."