Jets sign LB Bart Scott to 6-year deal

February 27, 2009 7:59:25 PM PST
The New York Jets bolstered their defense in a big way Friday, signing former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Bart Scott to a six-year, $48 million deal. The 28-year-old Scott agreed to terms Friday morning, visited the team and signed later in the day, agent Harold Lewis told The Associated Press. Scott will make $27 million over the first three years of the deal.

The team had not yet announced the signing as of early Friday night.

Scott is reunited with Rex Ryan, who left Baltimore after four years as the Ravens' defensive coordinator to become coach of the Jets. Scott ranked second on the Ravens in tackles last season and will join promising David Harris as speedy, playmaking inside linebackers in New York's 3-4 defensive scheme.

"After meeting with the Jets, he told me, 'I'm excited,"' Lewis said. "He said, 'I'm so excited about getting back with Rex.

If I had to leave Baltimore, I couldn't think of a better place."' Scott was a major part of a Ravens defense that ranked No. 2 overall and helped Baltimore reach the AFC championship against Pittsburgh. Scott was believed to be the Jets' No. 1 target this offseason, despite former teammates Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs also being free agents.

Scott originally signed with Baltimore as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Illinois in 2002. He saw significant playing time in his fourth season at middle linebacker when Lewis was injured, and played in the Pro Bowl the following season after he registered a career-high 9½ sacks and two interceptions.

Scott had 82 tackles and 1½ sacks last season for the Ravens.

The Jets are expected to be busy again this offseason in free agency, a year after they spent $140 million on bringing in high-profile players like Alan Faneca, Calvin Pace, Damien Woody and Tony Richardson, and trading for Kris Jenkins and later Brett Favre.

While New York probably won't spend as much this winter, the Jets have several needs after allowing wide receiver Laveranues Coles to become a free agent and cutting tight end Chris Baker, linebackers David Bowens and Brad Kassell, defensive back David Barrett and guard Brandon Moore.

A few other former Ravens players could end up back with Ryan, with safety Jim Leonhard scheduled to meet with the Jets on Saturday and the team also showing interest in cornerback Corey Ivy.

Another priority for the Jets this offseason is locking up All-Pro returner-running back Leon Washington to a contract extension.

The speedy and versatile Washington will be entering the final year of his deal, and would likely command a contract of no less than $6 million per year. Darren Sproles, whom Washington is often compared to because of their size, speed and game-changing abilities, was tendered a one-year, $6.62 million by San Diego as a non-exclusive franchise player.