Kansas City acquired Surtain, a three-time Pro Bowl cornerback, in a trade Friday after acquiescing to the Dolphins' demands for its second-round draft choice.
The teams swapped fifth-round choices in this weekend's draft, which bumped the Chiefs 24 spots higher in the round.
Surtain, whose 25 interceptions in the past three seasons lead all NFL cornerbacks, must pass a physical exam and the pertinent paperwork must be filed with the NFL for the deal to be official. All parameters of the trade, including a new contract for Surtain, have been agreed upon in principle.
Surtain will sign a seven-year contract worth $50.8 million, with $14 million in guarantees included, league sources have told ESPN.com.
"I'm very pleased," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil told The Associated Press. "He's an impact player who can help a defense that needs help. He won't need any grooming or more experience."
The deal makes Surtain the third highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, behind Denver's Champ Bailey and Baltimore's Chris McAlister. Surtain was en route to Kansas City on Friday morning to undergo a physical.
The teams have been talking on and off for several weeks, ever since the Dolphins granted Surtain and his representatives permission to seek trade scenarios. The one constant in the negotiations: Miami was steadfast in maintaining that it would not trade Surtain for less than a second-round pick. The Chiefs had been offering a fourth-rounder, but finally reconciled that it would take a second-round choice to complete a deal.
In securing Surtain, one of the NFL's premier cover cornerbacks, the Chiefs fill one of their most pressing needs. Team president and general manager Carl Peterson has done a nice job this offseason addressing a defense that statistically ranked next-to-last in the league in 2004. Acquiring Surtain, however, clearly is the most significant defensive upgrade the Chiefs have made since the conclusion of last season.
Only two days ago, Peterson acknowledged that time was running out for the possibility of the trade. Dolphins coach Nick Saban countered by noting that Miami would simply retain Surtain for this season rather than deal him for less-than-market value. The trade earlier this week of Raiders cornerback Phillip Buchanon, in which Houston sent second- and third-round picks to Oakland, helped validate Saban's asking price.
Buchanon is younger than Surtain but hardly as accomplished.
Surtain, 28, was scheduled to earn a base salary of $5.85 million with the Dolphins for the coming season and carried a hefty salary cap charge of about $8.3 million.
The seventh-year veteran, a second-round pick of the Dolphins in 1998, has appeared in 108 games and started 82. For years, the former Southern Mississippi player teamed with Sam Madison to give Miami one of the top cornerback tandems in the league.
For his career, Surtain has 29 interceptions and 86 passes defensed, along with 340 tackles, 6½ sacks, four forced fumbles and four recoveries. He has recorded at least two interceptions every season of his career and had five or more pickoffs three times. Last season Surtain played in 15 games and had four interceptions and 11 passes defensed.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.