Houshmandzadeh heads West

Updated: March 3, 2009, 3:34 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

In what turned out to be a tougher decision than expected, wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh chose the Seattle Seahawks over the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday afternoon.

Sources told ESPN's Michael Smith the deal was worth more than $40 million for five years, with more than $15 million guaranteed.

"I just felt it was the best destination, it was the best team, it was the best choice for me," Houshmandzadeh told ESPN.

Though he had hoped to make his decision Sunday, Houshmandzadeh, pressured by Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer to stay in Cincinnati and by the Vikings to stay around the Minneapolis area during a visit, escaped from a Minneapolis hotel Sunday night, flew to Los Angeles and spent Monday morning trying to make up his mind. He weighed offers from three teams, along with their quarterbacks and the teams' chances of winning.

The final decision was Seattle.

2008: Best of T.J. Houshmandzadeh

NFL.com Video

A look back at some of T.J. Houshmandzadeh's most memorable plays from the 2008 season.

The 31-year-old Houshmandzadeh was considered the wide receiver prize of free agency. He caught a combined 204 passes for 2,043 yards and 16 touchdowns over the past two seasons in Cincinnati. The 6-foot-1, 189-pound receiver had a 90-catch season in 2006. He tied for the NFL receptions lead in 2007 with 112 catches and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

His departure in Cincinnati could mean Chad Johnson might have to stay in Cincinnati for another season. Johnson tried to get traded from the Bengals before the 2008 season.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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