Seahawks sign QB Portis to two-year deal

SEATTLE — It’s no secret the Seahawks are in the market for quarterbacks having traded backup Matt Flynn earlier this week, and they added a familiar name to roster Wednesday, signing Josh Portis to a two-year deal.

Portis signed with Seattle in 2011 as an undrafted rookie out of Division II California University of Pennsylvania. Before that he had previously attended Florida and Maryland.

Portis quickly became a fan favorite for his play in the preseason, and spent his rookie season as Seattle’s third quarterback behind Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. Portis did not make the roster last season, however, as Seattle elected to keep only two quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Flynn, on the active roster. He instead spent most of the year on the Seahawks practice squad, but was released in November. Portis signed with the Toronto Argonauts last month, but most CFL contracts allow for players to leave if they get signed by an NFL team.

Portis, 25, will have a leg up on any other quarterbacks Seattle brings in to compete for the backup job — and this is almost certainly not the last move the Seahawks will make at the position — because of his familiarity with the offense. His big arm and athleticism also make him a strong candidate to back up Russell Wilson, a quarterback with similar physical traits. That being said, Portis is still a player the Seahawks were willing to part ways with last season, so he’s hardly a lock to win the backup job, let alone a spot on the 53-man roster come September.

The Seahawks are still believed to be interested in former Buffalo Bills backup Tyler Thigpen, and could also look to address the position in the middle or late rounds of the draft. While Portis has a shot to be the backup in Seattle this year, he’ll no doubt have to earn it in training camp.

The Seahawks also announced the signing of former Dolphins defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, a move that was first reported a week ago, but not made official until Wednesday.

McDaniel is Seattle’s third free-agent signing, and also the third addition on the defensive line joining ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. The Seahawks also announced that restricted free agent defensive tackle Clinton McDonald signed his tender to stay in Seattle.

McDaniel, who signed with Jacksonville as an undrafted rookie in 2006, spent the last four seasons in Miami where he was a rotational player on the Dolphins line, but not a starter. He battled through a knee injury that limited his effectiveness last season, but had 2.5 sacks in each of the previous two seasons and had a career-high 30 tackles in 2010.

McDonald, who came to Seattle in a 2011 trade with Cincinnati, has played in 29 games over the past two seasons and totaled 60 tackles. Those two could compete for a starting job with two-year starter Alan Branch signing with Buffalo earlier this week, though Seattle could also look to second-year tackle Jaye Howard, or address that position in the draft.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com

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