Agent Neil Cornrich declined to specify the value of the deal, but it is believed to be comparable to what other starting guards in the league earn. That would mean approximately $3 million in base salary, plus many more millions in a signing bonus.
Wahle, a 10-year veteran who was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2005 and '06 while with Carolina, earned $18 million in base salary and bonuses in his last three seasons with the Panthers before they cut him Monday in a salary-cap move.
The 6-foot-6, 304-pound Wahle will become the fourth left guard the Seahawks have tried since All-Pro Steve Hutchinson left after the 2005 season in a free-agent deal with Minnesota. Hutchinson's contract included unprecedented "poison pill" contract provisions that the Seahawks vehemently protested but ultimately could not match.
The Seahawks then tried Floyd Womack and Chris Spencer, now their starting center, at left guard. After that failed, the Seahawks thought they had agreed on a contract with free agent guard Kris Dielman last offseason, but he chose to re-sign with the San Diego Chargers instead. So Seattle rotated inconsistent Rob Sims and the injury-prone Womack at left guard during games throughout the second half of 2007.
The Seahawks' problems in running the ball are getting coach Mike Holmgren's full attention this offseason. Wahle's signing is the first proof.
Wahle's father played at suburban Bellevue High School and at Oregon State. Wahle's parents have a second home in Bainbridge Island, Wash., across the bay from downtown Seattle. And the family has many relatives in the Northwest.
"The Seahawks definitely had a home-field advantage with Mike," Cornrich said in a telephone interview from Cleveland.
The Seahawks also hired former Washington Redskins quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor as their quarterbacks coach, to replace Jim Zorn. Zorn left last month after seven seasons in Seattle to become the Redskins' offensive coordinator. Washington then promoted Zorn to head coach.
Lazor's arrival still leaves Seattle in need of a running backs coach, because Stump Mitchell left Wednesday to join Zorn in Washington.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press