Two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner signed with the New York Giants in a move that gives the team a veteran quarterback in case top draft pick Eli Manning is
not ready to start this season.
Warner accepted a two-year, $9.5 million contract Thursday morning that included a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $2 million base salary for this
season, ESPN.com's John Clayton reports. The second year is to be worth $6 million, but it is voidable, allowing Warner to be a free agent after the
In effect, Warner agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million, not including incentives.
The incentives worked into the contract would significantly increase the payout in 2004 if Warner puts up exceptional statistics and takes the team to
"This is a great opportunity for me," Warner said. "This team is built for success. There are a lot of pieces in place to make a run for the
championship now. It was that combination that made me excited about this opportunity."
Mark Bartelstein, Warner's agent, confirmed the completion of the deal Thursday but declined to discuss any of the numbers.
"This is a great fit," Bartelstein said. "Obviously Manning is there, but this is New York and if Kurt wins they are not going to want him to
The Giants started last season with Super Bowl expectations and finished with a 4-12 record that led to the firing of Jim Fassel and the hiring of Tom
Warner was to practice with the Giants on Thursday morning and then hold a press conference.
The contract, which was completed late Wednesday night, came a little more than 24 hours after Warner was released in a salary-cap move by St. Louis.
The release ended an improbable run that saw the former Arena League quarterback twice take the Rams to the Super Bowl.
Three or four other teams made contact with Bartelstein after Warner's name appeared on the waiver wire, but talks with the Giants were going along so
well, both sides worked late into the night to complete the deal.
"When you have an opportunity to stockpile talent at the most important position in football, you do it," Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi said.
"I only have to look back on my own history with the quarterback position to see how important it is to have quality depth there. We have the best of
both worlds right now, a blend of championship experience and youthful promise."
Besides Warner and Manning, the Giants also have veteran Jesse Palmer and free agents Jared Lorenzen and Ryan Van Dyke on the roster.
The Giants waived veteran Kurt Kittner after signing Warner.
Warner comes to the Giants knowing Manning is their quarterback of the future.
"The presence of Kurt's veteran leadership is going to be a great benefit to this team, especially our young quarterbacks," Coughlin said. "As a young
quarterback, you can learn an awful lot by watching how a guy like Kurt practices and prepares. It is a great learning tool."
New York traded first-round draft picks this year and next and other choices to San Diego on draft day to acquire the rights to the Mississippi
quarterback who was the No. 1 pick overall in the draft.
The Giants had hoped that Kerry Collins would mentor Manning this season. But the veteran who led the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance in January
2001 refused to renegotiate a contract that would have paid him $7 million in the upcoming season.
Collins, who signed with Oakland last month, was cut days after the draft, forcing a search for a proven veteran.
Warner, who will turn 33 on June 22, is that. He led the Rams to Super Bowls in the 1999 and 2001 seasons, but has been plagued by injuries since.
His days in St. Louis were numbered once Marc Bulger was given a four-year, $19.1 million contract.
The Rams gave Warner permission to shop himself, knowing he would be released June 1. Warner met with the Giants last month.
Warner has battled injuries the last two years. He missed half of the 2002 season with hand injuries. He lost his starting job last season after
sustaining a concussion in a season-opening loss to the Giants.
Warner hasn't won a game as a starter since the 2001 season, when he led the Rams to a 14-2 record. New England upset St. Louis in the Super Bowl,
denying Warner a second title.
Warner led St. Louis to a title when the Rams beat Tennessee in Super Bowl XXXIV.