Burgess gets $6M in bonuses

Updated: March 12, 2005, 10:21 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Unrestricted free agent defensive end Derrick Burgess, who played the first four seasons of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, has reached contract agreement with the Oakland Raiders.

The contract, negotiated by agent Jimmy Sexton, is for five years, $17.5 million, and the deal includes $6 million in bonuses.

Derrick Burgess
Defensive End
Oakland Raiders
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
24 21 3 0 3 0

Burgess, who had visited Seattle earlier in the week, reached agreement with the Raiders Saturday night. The Eagles, who had hoped to retain him, were also a finalist.

"I'm ecstatic and proud to have the opportunity to wear the Silver and Black," Burgess said. "I'm joining a quality organization in the Raiders with a great tradition and history."

Plagued by injuries that threatened to derail a very promising career, Burgess enjoyed a comeback season in 2004, starting 11 games for the Eagles and re-establishing himself as a solid young defender with obvious pass-rush potential. He had only 24 tackles and two sacks, but showed that he could attack the pocket with the same combination of upfield quickness and closing speed that he displayed before he was beset by injuries.

Even more notable than his play during the regular season was Burgess' performance in the playoffs. In the three postseason games, including Super Bowl XXXIX, he rang up 10 tackles, including nine solo stops, and three sacks.

His play in the Eagles' NFC championship game victory over Atlanta was particularly critical, as he switched sides with fellow end Jevon Kearse, moving to the left side, and then twice sacked Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. It remains to be seen how the Raiders deploy Burgess, who seems to possess skills better suited to the rush-end side, but -- despite a lack of bulk -- has played left end much of his career.

Because the Raiders play a 3-4 front, there is some chance that Burgess will be aligned at linebacker, getting pass rush opportunities from a two-point stance, on occasion. But no matter where he lines up, Burgess should be a marked upgrade for Oakland, and for a defense that produced only 25 sacks in 2004. No Raiders player registered more than four sacks and the defense line corps totaled just 13 sacks.

Burgess, 26, was chosen by the Eagles in the third round of the 2001 draft and his career got off to a productive start as he registered six sacks despite starting only four games as a rookie. In 2002, however, Burgess suffered a season-ending broken right foot in the opener, and required two surgeries to repair the damage.

After rehabilitating the foot injury, Burgess tore his left Achilles tendon during practice in 2003, and missed that entire season.

Although he had appeared in just one game in two seasons, Burgess was a standout in camp last summer and eventually won a starting job. About midway through the season, Burgess seemed to shake off the rust of two years of inactivity and started to make more plays. That surge certainly carried over into the postseason.

The former University of Mississippi star has appeared in 29 games, starting in 15 of them, and has 55 career tackles and eight sacks.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.