Bucs, CB Barber agree to multiyear extension

Nine-year veteran Ronde Barber, one of the league's top all-around cornerbacks, has reached agreement with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a contract extension.

The deal, which will keep the three-time Pro Bowl performer off the unrestricted free agent market, has been in the works for a few weeks at least. The extension is for five seasons, but sources told ESPN.com that the deal is actually designed more for two seasons, and is worth roughly $14 million over that stretch. The total value, if the Bucs paid all the options and Barber played the entire five seasons of the deal, is about $24 million.

Barber, 31, will receive a $6 million signing bonus and it's believed there is an option bonus due next spring for a like amount.

A third-round choice in the 1997 draft, Barber, the twin brother of New York Giants' star tailback Tiki Barber, was entering the final season of his existing contract. Although he felt for the last two years that he had outplayed the value of that contract, Barber kept his grievances private and never threatened any kind of work stoppage.

The former University of Virginia star began his NFL career as a nickel cornerback before moving into the starting lineup. He still generally moves inside on third-down situations to cover the receiver in the slot and is one of the NFL's best players in that regard.

Along with Brian Kelly, he forms one of the league's best, but also most underrated, corner tandems. His all-around skills, and especially his ability to support against the run, make Barber an excellent fit for the Bucs' Cover 2 scheme.

In 129 games, Barber has 693 tackles, 20 sacks, 28 interceptions and 94 passes defensed. He is the only cornerback in NFL history to post at least 20 sacks and 20 interceptions.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.