The Baltimore Ravens, trying to shore up one of their trouble spots, signed free agent cornerback Rod Woodson to a multiyear contract today, team officials said.

The Ravens hope Woodson will stabilize a young defensive secondary that has struggled since the team moved to Baltimore.

"If you look around the league at the corners . . . we feel that when you've got a guy like that, that knows how to play the game, he really brings a lot to the table," Ravens vice president of player personnel Ozzie Newsome said.

Woodson was unavailable to comment. He and his wife are awaiting the birth of their fourth child.

The biggest question surrounding Woodson is how much speed he has lost due to age -- he will be 33 on March 10 -- and the torn Achilles' tendon he suffered in the 1995 opener for Pittsburgh. Ravens officials acknowledge that Woodson is not as fast as before, but say they like what they have seen so far.

Antonio Langham and DeRon Jenkins were the starting cornerbacks at the end of the season. Langham is testing the free agent market, but the Ravens want him back and Jenkins is a third-year player who has struggled but played well in spurts at the end of the year.

Woodson has played 11 years and is one of only five active players named to the league's 75th anniversary team.

Pittsburgh selected him in the first round of the 1987 draft, and Woodson played 10 years with the Steelers before signing with San Francisco last season.

Woodson has compiled 725 tackles, 41 interceptions and 5 touchdowns in his career. He was injured in Pittsburgh's first game in 1995 but became the league's first player to return in the same season with that injury.