James was expected to sign later Monday night, according to a team source.
The Seahawks were mum on talk they are about to add James. A team spokesman said the team would not comment Monday about the subject of James, amid reports the free agent and league's active leading rusher with 12,121 yards has signed with Seattle. The spokesman said the Seahawks would address the "speculation" on Tuesday, their next practice day heading into their third preseason game on Saturday at Kansas City.
The 31-year-old James, a former star with the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts, did not visit Seahawks headquarters and was not in the Seattle area on Monday. He has not taken or passed a physical, so a contract is not finished.
ProFootballTalk.com cited sources in reporting it was a one-year deal worth $2 million.
His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not immediately return e-mails and text messages seeking comment.
Seahawks coach Jim Mora did not comment on James during a 30-minute session with reporters.
When asked how his running backs have been this preseason, Mora said "just OK." He called Seattle's new running game "still a work in progress."
"We're always looking, at every position we're looking," for reinforcements, Mora said, while not specifically addressing the James talk.
Seattle has new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp installing his highly successful zone-blocking scheme for this season, and had been planning to use a triumvirate to run behind it: former Dallas Cowboys lead back Julius Jones, bruiser T.J. Duckett and elusive second-year man Justin Forsett.
In 12 combined seasons, those three have rushed for 5,125 fewer yards than James. The 10-year-veteran passed Franco Harris last season for 11th on the NFL's all-time rushing list. James is within 158 yards of both Marcus Allen and Marshall Faulk on that list, and he is 191 yards behind Jim Brown for eighth.
The Cardinals finally granted James' wish to be released in late April.
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, the first time that's happened in his career, as the Cardinals went with rookie Tim Hightower.
James asked the team 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 it to James' only Super Bowl.
James had sought his release early in the free agency period but the Cardinals held off until after April's draft, where they chose Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells in the first round.
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. He recently experienced a personal tragedy with the death of his longtime girlfriend, and mother of his four children, of leukemia at age 30.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.