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Jets Sign LB Roman Phifer

The New York Jets strengthened an already solid position Friday by agreeing to a three-year contract with linebacker Roman Phifer.

Terms of the agreement with the eight-year veteran were not disclosed, but Phifer was seeking a deal for close to $3 million a year.

Phifer had 99 tackles and 6½ sacks last season for St. Louis and has 820 tackles, 16½ sacks and seven interceptions for his career.

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The acquisition of Phifer could mean the end of James Farrior's short tenure in New York. Farrior, selected in the first round of the 1997 draft, was a starter for much of his rookie year. But he lost his job to Bryan Cox last season and would appear to be vulnerable because he plays the same outside position as Phifer.

New York does not have a first-round draft pick in the April draft and might try to package Farrior to get one.

Cox had a superb season for the Jets and the other outside linebacker, Mo Lewis, was an All-Pro. There is decent depth at the position, as well.

The Jets also are concerned about Marvin Jones, who is returning from a major knee injury and missed all of last season. The team told veteran Pepper Johnson it would not re-sign him and Dwayne Gordon is a free agent.

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