Giants add Bernard to defense

Updated: March 1, 2009, 8:38 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

A day after signing Atlanta Falcons linebacker Mike Boley to a five-year, $25 million contract, the New York Giants added a playmaker to their defensive line Saturday by reaching an agreement with Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Rocky Bernard.

Bernard signed what is believed to be a four-year, $16 million deal on Saturday night. Bernard, 29, had 29 sacks during his seven-year Seahawks career.

Bernard had his best season in 2005, when the Seahawks played in the Super Bowl. He had 8 1/2 sacks in only seven starts. His specialty is playing the three technique, being the tackle whose job is to shoot gaps and pressure the running attack or quarterback.

Bernard became a full-time starter in 2006 and has had 44 starts and 11 sacks since. He was a fifth-round choice of the Seahawks in 2002.

"He's a veteran defensive tackle with skins on the wall," Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. "He plays hard, he's stout against the run and he has to be accounted for as a pass rusher."

Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield, the starting tackles last season, both have had arthroscopic surgery in the offseason.

"I'm really, really excited to be coming to the Giants," Bernard said. "I wanted to go to a team that has had a lot of success and has a really good defense. That's what the Giants have. It feels good to be part of a great organization. They're a good football team."

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

John Clayton

NFL senior writer