The Seahawks have signed veteran TE Michael Palmer, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons. He'll provide some depth at the tight end position and come in as competition for Luke Willson, Sean McGrath, and Darren Fells. He's also a little insurance for Zach Miller and a camp body to put in some snaps in the event that Miller can't go in training camp, which starts on Thursday.
In 2011, according to Football Outsiders' tracking, Palmer caught 10 passes on 16 targets, for 72 yards and a touchdown; he finished the year with a DYAR of -23 and a DVOA of -28.8%. Neither of those numbers reflect well on his play, but Palmer followed that up with 6 catches on 6 targets for 22 yards and a touchdown in 2012 - moving his DYAR up to -2 and his DVOA up to -4.1%. So, while there's a obviously reason he was a free agent, he may still be able to play a role for Seattle.
Of course, he'll be looking to fill the shoes of Anthony McCoy - who, according to Football Outsiders' tracking, was very efficient in 2012, with a DYAR of 90 (10th in the NFL among tight ends) and a DVOA of 35.5% (he finished second only to Rob Gronkowski in receiving DVOA for tight ends with at least 25 passes). This means, in a nutshell, that McCoy was efficient when he was targeted and provided value to the offense when he was on the field.
Still, according to The Falcoholic's Dave Choate:
"Michael Palmer is a glue guy. He's a useful special teams player, an unassuming locker room dude and someone who can catch a little and block a little. As anything more than a backup, he's stretched. As a reserve tight end who can come on the field and do a little bit of everything, he's a mighty useful player."
I would guess this is about how the Seahawks see him, and I'd probably compare Palmer to maybe a Barrett Ruud in the idea that he provides some insurance if Luke Willson or some of the young guys at TE don't really pan out off the bat, but I wouldn't say he's a lock for the roster. Ruud was dealt last season after Bobby Wagner emerged at middle linebacker, and I'd say that Palmer would need to prove himself a reliable blocker and pass catcher to earn himself a roster spot.
Palmer is 25 years old; he's 6'5, 252 pounds and at his Pro Day in 2010, ran the 40 in 4.78 seconds. He has 21 receptions for 123 yards and 3 touchdowns in his career.
UDFA DB Ray Polk was released to clear a spot on the 90-man roster. The Seahawks now have seven tight ends on their roster.