Steve Atwater, an eight-time Pro Bowl safety recently released by the Denver Broncos, signed a 3-year, $8.25 million contract with the New York Jets today.
The hard-hitting Atwater, who became expendable when the two-time Super Bowl champion Broncos signed free agent cornerback Dale Carter to a record contract, was expected to give the Jets a much needed boost in the secondary.
The Jets called a 3 p.m. EST news conference today at its Hofstra training facility in Hempstead, N.Y., to introduce the 32-year-old Atwater.
The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Atwater was replaced on obvious passing downs last season, and knew his days with the Broncos were numbered. It was thought he might return to the team if there were no other offers, but the Jets stepped in and ended that possibililty.
Atwater brings a great deal of experience, not to mention height, to the Jets secondary, which features Pro Bowl cornerback Aaron Glenn (5-9), Ray Mickens (5-8) and Victor Green (5-11).
A 1989 first-round draft pick from Arkansas, Atwater spent his entire career with the Broncos. He was Denver's fourth-leading tackler in '98 with 85 stops, and has 24 career interceptions.
Two weeks ago, the Broncos signed Carter to a six-year, $38 million deal, including an $8 million signing bonus. Atwater would have accounted for nearly $3.3 million of Denver's salary cap next season.
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