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Eagles boost D, add Kearse

Wire services
Published March 4, 2004

PHILADELPHIA - Desperate for a pass rusher, the Eagles signed three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jevon Kearse to a $66-million, eight-year deal Wednesday, the first day of the NFL's free-agency period.

Kearse spent five seasons with the Titans, establishing himself as one of the top sack artists in the league. He had 91/2 sacks last season, two more than all of Philadelphia's defensive ends combined.

Kearse will receive a $16-million signing bonus and $4-million in a roster bonus that he will get in the first two years of his deal. Kearse's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said the deal makes Kearse the highest-paid defensive lineman in league history. The contract is contingent upon Kearse passing a physical in Philadelphia today.

Kearse finished 2003 with 67 tackles, third among defensive linemen. He also had 19 quarterback pressures, three tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and one interception.

The Eagles have sought a pass rusher since allowing three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Hugh Douglas to sign with the Jaguars last spring.

Big payday for Bailey

DENVER - Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey will be the highest-paid cornerback in league history.

Bailey agreed to a seven-year, $63-million contract with the Broncos that includes an $18-million signing bonus and $5-million in other bonuses.

The agreement clears the way for the Redskins' four-time Pro Bowl player to be traded to the Broncos for running back Clinton Portis, who ran for 1,500-plus yards each of his first two seasons. Denver also receives Washington's second-round draft pick in April.

Bailey's $9-million annual average exceeds the $7.3-million the Patriots pay Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law, who was the highest-paid cornerback.

BROWNS: Drew Henson, the former Michigan quarterback drafted last season by Houston while he was playing baseball in the Yankees' organization, worked out.

CHIEFS: Safety Jerome Woods agreed to a six-year contract. Woods was a defensive leader for the Chiefs last season and made the Pro Bowl for the first time.

FALCONS: Center Todd McClure signed a three-year, $3.5-million contract.

LIONS: Safety Corey Harris, a 12-year veteran who started 13 games last season, was released. Defensive end James Hall signed a five-year deal and the contract of Robert Porcher, the team's career sacks leader with 91, was restructured.

JETS: Starting middle linebacker Marvin Jones was cut to help revamp the position. Jones spent his entire 11-year career with the Jets. He ranks third in team history with 1,200 tackles (811 solo), notching eight 100-plus tackle seasons. Jones' agent said this week Jones would not retire and several teams are interested. The Jets will move outside linebacker Sam Cowart to the middle.

PACKERS: A year ago, Chad Clifton was learning how to walk again after Warren Sapp's blind-side hit left him with a pelvic injury commonly seen in auto accidents, not on football fields. On Wednesday, Clifton signed a six-year, $32.4-million extension that included an $11-million signing bonus.

PATRIOTS: Wide receiver J.J. Stokes, who joined the team late last season after being released by Jacksonville, re-signed.

RAIDERS: The team agreed to a $14-million, four-year contract with veteran defensive tackle Ted Washington. Washington, a key member of the Super Bowl champion Patriots last season, receives a $4-million signing bonus. He turned down an $8-million, three-year offer from the Patriots last week to become a free agent.

The 6-foot-5, 375-pound Washington, who turns 36 in April, fills a major void as a run stopper for the Raiders, who ranked last in the league in rushing defense last season.

REDSKINS: The team agreed to terms with cornerback Shawn Springs, signed defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, re-signed offensive lineman Lennie Friedman and welcomed quarterback Mark Brunell and running back Clinton Portis.

Springs, the No. 3 overall draft pick by Seattle in 1997, was to sign his contract today. Considered one of the top cornerbacks available in free agency, Springs will replace Champ Bailey.

Brunell, who signed a seven-year, $43-million contract, said he expects to start, but that coach Joe Gibbs did not promise him the job. There are rumblings of a possible QB controversy involving Brunell and incumbent Patrick Ramsey.

SAINTS: Veteran cornerback and special teams player Fakhir Brown signed a two-year contract. The Saints also agreed to terms on a three-year contract with linebacker Derrick Rodgers, one of the team's leading tacklers last season.

STEELERS: Fullback Dan Kreider passed up free agency and signed a four-year contract that will pay him a little more than $4-million.

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