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Originally published September 19, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 19, 2007 at 2:07 AM

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Hawks Notebook | Babineaux gets $17M in five-year deal

The man from oil country came to Seattle and now has struck it rich. Jordan Babineaux is that guy, a native of the Gulf Coast region of...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The man from oil country came to Seattle and now has struck it rich.

Jordan Babineaux is that guy, a native of the Gulf Coast region of southeast Texas. But he didn't discover oil. The Seahawks defensive back earned himself — through three-plus seasons of solid play — a five-year contract extension, which he signed Tuesday morning at team headquarters.

The contract is worth up to $17 million with bonuses and incentives. Babineaux, 25, will make close to $4 million in guaranteed money between now and March.

That figure is Babineaux's signing bonus plus his new 2007 salary. He had signed a one-year restricted free-agent tender for $1.3 million this offseason. Now Babineaux will get more than 10 times what his base salary was for the Seahawks just two seasons ago.

"It's really a good story because he grew up in the system," Babineaux's agent, J.R. Rickert, said Tuesday. Babineaux wants to be in Seattle, Rickert said, "and they want him there."

Babineaux was unavailable to the media on Tuesday because it was a players' day off.

Babineaux's story is one of persistence and success, and he's a feather in the cap for the Seahawks' scouting department. He made the team's practice squad as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Arkansas in 2004, and that season he wound up playing in six games, mostly on special teams.

The next year, a good exhibition season landed him a place on the 53-man roster. The Seahawks went to the Super Bowl with help from Babineaux, who started four games and picked up the nicknames "Big Play Babs" and "The Closer" for several key plays he made that led to or saved wins. Those included a forced fumble on a punt return at St. Louis, an interception in a tie game at home against Dallas and a late interception at Arizona.

"He's probably the most underrated player in the NFL," Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander said of Babineaux at training camp in 2006. "His value to our team is huge. He's one of those guys that could play corner every game and you wouldn't find any weak spots in his game at all. ... People like him are what takes you to Super Bowls."

In 2006, Babineaux was a reserve cornerback but took over as the starter at strong safety for eight games in the middle of the season. Injuries at cornerback sent him back to that spot for the end of the regular season and the postseason. He made the play of the year against Dallas in the NFC wild-card game when he tackled Cowboys holder Tony Romo after a fumbled field-goal snap with just over a minute left in a 21-20 Seattle win.

Babineaux could have become an unrestricted free agent after this season but is valuable because of his ability to play safety and cornerback, along with having starting experience. He's currently the nickel cornerback, and in 39 regular-season games for the Seahawks has 117 total tackles, four interceptions and 12 pass breakups.

He also has 27 career special-teams tackles.

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"It's a great example of two-way loyalty," Rickert said.

Note

• Anyone interested in reliving Alexander's infamous fumble near the end of the Arizona game can do so tonight at 7:30 when the NFL Network re-airs a condensed version of the Seahawks-Cardinals game.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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Union, league negotiators to resume talks Monday | NFL

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