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Originally published Sunday, March 15, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks trade LB Julian Peterson to Lions

Seattle gets defensive tackle Cory Redding and fifth-round draft pick in exchange

Seattle Times staff reporter

Julian Peterson

Age: 30

Height: 6-3

Weight: 240

College: Michigan State

Peterson is the free agent Seattle agreed to a contract with on the same day it officially lost guard Steve Hutchinson to Minnesota. In three season in Seattle, Peterson was chosen for three Pro Bowls and had 24.5 sacks in his three seasons with Seattle, more than any Seahawk. Patrick Kerney ranks No. 2 in that time with 19.5.

Cory Redding

Age: 28

Height: 6-4

Weight: 295

College: Texas

The seven-year contract he signed in 2007 was for at least $16 million and as much as $48 million, making him the highest-paid defensive tackle in the league at the time. That distinction is now held by Albert HaynesworthDanny O'Neil

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The official transaction log says only that Seattle traded linebacker Julian Peterson to Detroit for defensive lineman Cory Redding and a fifth-round pick.

However, that omits one of the Seahawks' most significant acquisitions in Saturday's trade: flexibility. That's what Seattle gained both along the defensive line and in next month's draft.

"Cory Redding is a guy we've had our eye on for some time," Seahawks president Tim Ruskell said in the team's statement announcing the trade. "We liked him coming out of Texas because of his versatility to play inside and out and also because of the type of person he is. This gives us another big, physical presence along the defensive line and someone we can play at multiple positions."

Peterson could not be reached for comment, and coach Jim Mora was unavailable.

The trade also opens up multiple possibilities in the draft for Seattle.

If the Seahawks have a chance to choose Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry with the fourth overall choice, there's now a spot in the starting lineup for him. Adding Redding also reduces any pressure Seattle may have felt to add a big-bodied defensive lineman in the draft, someone like Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji.

That flexibility came at a cost. Seattle traded one-third of the linebacking trio (along with Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill) that many considered among the best in the league.

Redding can't compare to Peterson in terms of popularity around the league. He has never been chosen to a Pro Bowl. Redding doesn't measure up in terms of pass-rush production, either. Redding has 12 sacks over the past three seasons; Peterson has 24.5.

But Redding's arrival adds depth to a defensive line that had become the shallow end of the pool on Seattle's defense. The Seahawks did not re-sign Rocky Bernard and Howard Green in free agency, and while they added nose tackle Colin Cole, he has started only eight games in his NFL career.

Redding is 28 and was drafted in the third round out of Texas in 2003. While he hasn't played up to the level of the seven-year contract he signed with Detroit in 2007, he is a proven NFL starter who constitutes an upgrade up front.

The trade rounds out a defense that had become lopsided in terms of its payroll. The Seahawks had more than $20 million in salary-cap space committed to its three starting linebackers after designating Hill their franchise player last month. Last season, the defensive line didn't have a single player with so much as six sacks last season.

Peterson's departure means Seattle must look elsewhere for pass-rush production as Peterson was a linebacker so versatile he often lined up at end on third down.

Seattle will be expecting Patrick Kerney to make a strong recovery from a shoulder injury that landed him on injured reserve in 2008, the second time in three years he was unable to finish the season. Seattle also is relying upon Hill to show the pass-rushing form he demonstrated in 2005 before Peterson's arrival. Hill had 7.5 sacks as a rookie. In the three seasons since Peterson signed with Seattle, Hill had six sacks total.

Redding also could help upgrade the Seahawks up front. He had eight sacks in 2006, the season that convinced the Lions to sign him to a long-term contract.

So Seattle's only Pro Bowl participant from 2008 is gone, traded to Detroit for a versatile lineman, a second-day draft choice and a wide-open world of possibilities in next month's draft.

Notes

• Seattle also agreed to terms with two reserve linebackers from last season, bringing back D.D. Lewis and Lance Laury for 2009.

• Seattle also received a fifth-round draft pick, which essentially replaces the fifth-rounder the Seahawks traded to Denver in September 2008 in exchange for Keary Colbert, who managed to stick around for seven games before getting cut.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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