NEW YORK -- The New York Jets signed free agent linebacker Antwan Barnes to a three-year contract Monday and re-signed long snapper Tanner Purdum to a two-year deal.
Barnes spent the last three seasons with the San Diego Chargers, mainly as a pass-rushing specialist, something the Jets were looking for in free agency. He was a fourth-round draft pick of Baltimore in 2007 and played two of his three years with the Ravens under then-defensive co-ordinator and current Jets coach Rex Ryan.
Barnes, 28, was traded to Philadelphia in 2010 but released a few weeks into the season before being signed by the Chargers. He has 23 1/2 sacks, including a career-high 11 in 2011, and five forced fumbles in his career.
He is the second former Chargers defensive player the Jets have signed this off-season, joining nose tackle Antonio Garay. The team didn't announce financial terms of the deal, but various reports said it is for $4 million, with $1.65 million this year.
With Calvin Pace cut and Bryan Thomas not expected back, New York was thin at outside linebacker with Garrett McIntyre and Ricky Sapp as the projected starters. Barnes will likely get the chance to start with the Jets, hoping he rebounds from last season when he was limited to 11 games and finished the year on injured reserve with a hamstring issue.
Barnes wrote on Twitter earlier in the day that "Green and White, it is," and thanked the Jets and promised the fans, "I won't let you down." But, he quickly backtracked and wrote: "Wait a minute...not official yet...in talks now." Five hours later, he tweeted again, "now it's official," with a picture of him signing his contract.
Purdum, who announced his return on Twitter earlier in the day, has been the Jets' long snapper for the last three seasons after replacing long-time locker room favourite James Dearth in 2010. Purdum was a restricted free agent, but wasn't tendered by the Jets. After the team re-signed kicker Nick Folk a few days ago, the Jets kept their special teams core together, along with punter Robert Malone, by re-signing Purdum.