The Baltimore Ravens have agreed in principle to a deal with free agent WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh and traded WR Mark Clayton to the St. Louis Rams for an undisclosed draft pick, executive vice president/general manager Ozzie Newsome announced Monday afternoon.
Houshmandzadeh, who was released by the Seattle Seahawks this past Saturday, enters his 10th NFL season. The 6-2, 203-pounder played for the Seahawks in 2009 after spending the initial eight years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals.
"The first things that pop out at you about T.J. are that he has been very productive and durable in his first nine years in the NFL," Newsome stated. "Plus, we saw him more than we wanted making a lot of plays against us. We had interest in him a year ago when he first became a free agent before he signed with Seattle.
"He's another proven weapon for our offense – a big receiver with good hands and toughness. The one other thing that every coach and player we talked with about him indicated is that T.J. is a driven player with an excellent work ethic."
A 2007 Pro Bowler, Houshmandzadeh has posted 586 career receptions for 6,693 yards and 40 touchdowns. In 13 career games against the Ravens, he caught 77 passes for 987 yards and six touchdowns. In a contest at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 5, 2004, he posted a career-high 171 receiving yards on 10 receptions.
Houshmandzadeh, 32, has played in 121 career games (90 starts), including all 16 for the Seahawks last season when he had 79 catches for 911 yards and three touchdowns.
As for Clayton, Baltimore's 2005 first-round pick (22nd overall), who owns a franchise-record nine 100-yard receiving games, Newsome added: "You never reach a point when it's easy to release or trade a player you respect. Everyone here has the highest regard for Mark. He'll help the Rams, and it's good for him that they reached out to get him.
"Mark is a good person who did everything he could to help the Ravens on and off the field. In the end, we have to do what we think is best for the team, but letting Mark go hurts. He was first class all the way, even when we met with him about the trade. This is a tough part of the business."
The Ravens will attempt to have Houshmandzadeh meet with the media in Baltimore on Tuesday, pending the passing of his physical. Additionally, the team will send out this week's game release on Tuesday once Houshmandzadeh officially signs.