Broncos bolster defensive corps

Updated: March 1, 2009, 7:59 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

The Denver Broncos continued bolstering their roster at a torrid pace Saturday by adding three key defensive players.

The team announced it had signed seven-time Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins, who spent his previous 13 years with the Philadelphia Eagles.

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According to a source, the contract is for five years and $17 million. The deal could escalate to as much as $27 million if Dawkins can reach some achievable performance levels.

Dawkins, who will turn 36 next season, said he felt blessed to be going from one storied franchise to another.

"You can feel it. You can absolutely feel it," Dawkins said. "When I walk through the halls, you see the guys who have gone before us to Super Bowls, and I see T.D. [Terrell Davis] on the wall. It makes me want to get back there. It makes me want to get back there in a hurry."

The team also reached a two-year deal with former Browns linebacker Andra Davis, as well as a three-year, $6.8 million deal with ex-Colts defensive tackle Darrell Reid, according to sources.

The Eagles and Dawkins were discussing a two-year contract offer when the Broncos entered the picture to lure him to Denver.

In the first two years of his contract, Dawkins is scheduled to make $9 million. Of that total, $7.2 million is guaranteed.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels targeted Dawkins as the big fish in his first free-agent class.

"He's exactly what the Denver Broncos are looking for," McDaniels said. "He's dedicated. He's serious about the game. ... He's going to provide us with great leadership, great attitude. He's got tremendous experience, and we're thrilled to have him."

The Eagles praised Dawkins and thanked him for all he gave the organization.

"Brian Dawkins has been one of the pillars of this franchise for 13 years," Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie said. "Brian embodies everything you look for in a professional athlete and human being. I have been fortunate to witness his impeccable character, his passion for the game of football and his commitment to being the best player he could be.

"I look forward to continuing a close relationship with him once his playing days are over. His legacy as an Eagle will last forever and will ultimately land him in Canton as a Hall of Famer."

Since the start of free agency, the Broncos have added Dawkins, Reid, Davis and safety Renaldo Hill to their defense.

They added wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and running backs Correll Buckhalter and J.J. Arrington to their offense. They signed Texans wide receiver David Anderson, a restricted free agent, to a three-year, $4.5 million offer sheet. And on special teams, they added former Patriots long-snapper Lonie Paxton.

Hill and Gaffney both signed four-year deals worth $10 million with $3 million in guarantees, their agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed Saturday.

Davis, 30, is a seven-year veteran starter. He had 90 tackles last season for the Browns.

Reid can play defensive tackle and can help out at fullback. He's also one of the best special-teams players in the league.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer