posted on Mar, 4 2004 @ 09:13 PM
He was wined and dined and all but signed, but there is now some uncertainty as to whether unrestricted free agent cornerback Antoine Winfield will
join the New York Jets. The five-year veteran, reached agreement in principle with the Jets on a six-year deal worth $30 million and including a $10
million signing bonus. The contract would pay Winfield $18 million in the first three years of the deal.
But late in the evening, as the two sides were finalizing the deal, Winfield backed away for what sources described as personal reasons. And the Jets,
who had been expected to introduce the newest addition to a rebuilding defense at a Friday news conference could now see Winfield make some visits to
other clubs that have been pursuing him.
Despite authoring just six interceptions in five seasons, Winfield, 26, was regarded as one of the top corners at the deepest position in free agency.
The former Buffalo Bills first-rounder was to step into a void created by the release of veteran Aaron Beasley last week.
The Jets, it seems, were not about to let Winfield escape their complex without agreeing to a contract. They hosted Winfield and agent Richard Katz on
Wednesday evening for a lavish dinner, and negotiations went late into the night. The two sides resumed discussions on Thursday and made enough
progress that Winfield delayed a scheduled flight to Minneapolis, where he was to have visited with Minnesota Vikings officials.
The Houston Texans were also pursuing Winfield and, during the course of negotiations with the Jets, continued to try to contract him on his cell