Pro Bowl safety staying with Chiefs

Originally Published: February 26, 2004
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Working hard to retain their own top pending free agents, the Chiefs have completed the second half of their safety daily double, reaching contract agreement with Pro Bowl free safety Jerome Woods on a six-year deal.

The contract, which comes less than a week before the start of the free agency signing period, keeps Woods out of the unrestricted pool. The eight-year veteran would have been one of the top safeties in the free agency market.

Several weeks ago, the Chiefs signed starting strong safety Greg Wesley, who along with Woods gives Kansas City one of the top interior secondary tandems in the league, to a six-year extension.

The six-year deal for Woods, who had made it clear his preference was to return to the Chiefs, is worth more than $3 million annually. The combined value of the initial signing bonus and a second-tier option bonus is $5 million, the same as Wesley's contract.

Woods, 30, is coming off a 2003 campaign in which he recorded 99 tackles, including 68 solo stops. He also had three forced fumbles, one recovery and three interceptions. He returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns. He capped the year by being named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad for the first time. The invitation marked the first time that the Chiefs had a safety in the Pro Bowl since 1988.

What made his performance last season even more gratifying for Woods, the Chiefs' first-round choice in the 1996 draft, is that he had missed the entire 2002 season with a broken leg. Prior to the injury, the former University of Memphis standout had missed only one game in his career.

A starter since his second year in the league, Woods has appeared in 111 games and started in 95 of them. He has 661 tackles, with four seasons of 100 or more stops, 15 interceptions and 48 passes defensed.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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