Giants sign Arrington to $49 million deal

Updated: April 22, 2006, 3:59 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- LaVar Arrington signed with the New York Giants on Saturday, giving him a chance to play twice a year against his former team and helping fill a huge gap at linebacker for the NFC East champions.

LaVar Arrington
Arrington

Arrington agreed to a $49 million, seven-year deal late Friday, according to Kevin Poston, one of his agents. Poston didn't say how much was guaranteed but Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi indicated that it includes performance bonuses.

To get the $7 million-per-year, Arrington and the Giants agreed to load the deal with incentives, ESPN.com's John Clayton reported. Arrington, who will get a $5.25 million signing bonus, will receive a base salary worth around $3.7 million a year. With reachable incentives, Arrington can make $5 million a year and with maximum performance, he can take the deal to $49 million if he completes the seven years of his contract.

Arrington reportedly had been seeking as much as $18 million guaranteed and a $58 million deal, one reason Arrington stayed on the market while dozens of other players signed during the first few weeks of the free-agent period.

"We needed a big, power player to add to our defense and LaVar Arrington is that," Accorsi said. "He has a presence about him and he makes us a better football team.

"The agreement is a fair deal for the player and a fair deal for the organization."

Arrington, the third overall pick in the 2000 draft and a three-time Pro Bowler, bought his way out of Washington in March for $4.4 million after a tempestuous final two seasons in which he suffered from knee injuries and was benched by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for freelancing. He took a physical with the Giants on Thursday to ensure that his knees were healthy.

He joins a defense that features the defensive end tandem of Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, who last year combined for 26 sacks. Both made the Pro Bowl and Umenyiora, in his third year, was an All-Pro.

Arrington also fills a huge hole for the Giants, who lost all three starting linebackers late last season to injuries and went into the playoffs with a backup and two recently signed free agents.

Last week, the Giants signed free agent Brandon Short, who played for them from 2000-2003. The addition of Arrington means the team could turn its attention to another position in the first round of next week's draft, perhaps cornerback or defensive tackle.

Poston said Green Bay, Jacksonville and Miami all were in the running for the 27-year-old Arrington. But in the end, he said, his client decided that he wanted to play against Washington twice a season and for Tim Lewis, New York's defensive coordinator.

"It came down to LaVar feeling most comfortable going to a good team in a familiar division with a defensive coordinator that he loves," Poston said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.