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Winfield Signed with the Jets

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Winfield deal includes $10M signing bonus

By Len Pasquarelli


He was wined and dined, and now unrestricted free agent cornerback Antoine Winfield is about to be signed by the New York Jets as well.


The five-year veteran, ESPN.com has confirmed, has reached agreement in principle with the Jets on a six-year deal worth $30 million and including a $10 million signing bonus. The contract will pay Winfield $18 million in the first three years of the deal.

Some detail still need work to complete the contract, but all of the significant elements are agreed upon, and the Jets are expected to introduce the newest addition to a rebuilding defense at a Friday news conference.

Despite grabbing just six interceptions in five seasons, Winfield, 26, was regarded as one of the top corners at the deepest position in free agency. The former Buffalo Bills first-rounder will step into the void created by the release of veteran Aaron Beasley last week.

The Jets, it seems, were not about to let Winfield escape their complex without agreeing to a contract. They hosted Winfield and agent Richard Katz on Wednesday evening for a lavish dinner, and negotiations went late into the night. The two sides resumed discussions on Thursday and made enough progress that Winfield delayed a scheduled flight to Minneapolis, where he was to have visited with Minnesota Vikings officials.

The Houston Texans were also pursuing Winfield and, during the course of negotiations with the Jets, continued to try to contract him on his cell phone.

Winfield lacks prototype cornerback stature but, at 5-feet-9 and 180 pounds, plays bigger than his size and is known for his aggressive approach to the game. His one shortcoming is a lack of big plays, as evidenced by his interception total, but that didn't seem to scare off any of his suitors.

The franchises that liked Winfield in free agency pointed out that opponents didn't often throw his way, but in fact the former Ohio State star does not have good hands and does not often jump in front of a pass route. The 23rd overall player chosen in the 1999 draft, Winfield has 409 tackles, one sack and 60 passes defensed.

He has started in 49 of his 63 appearances.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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Actually, not yet....He apparently left NY without signing the deal and it's looking like the Vikings might end up getting him to sign.....Someone is gonna overpay...

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