Quarterback Kurt Warner's representative was applying the finishing touches to a two-year contract agreement with the New York Giants last night, a day after the two-time NFL most valuable player was released by the St. Louis Rams. Barring any last-minute snags, the Giants planned to complete the deal with agent Mark Bartelstein late last night or today and introduce Warner at a news conference today.
"We're having a lot of talks and trying to get something done,'' Bartelstein said by telephone early last night.
The two-year contract would pay Warner about $3 million for the 2004 season, including a $1.5 million signing bonus, said a source familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations were ongoing. The deal would contain a mechanism to void the second year and possibly enable Warner to be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, the source said.
Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi declined to comment. The Giants want Warner to help mentor top overall draft choice Eli Manning but likely will allow him to compete for the starting job to open the season.
The salary cap-related roster trims continued around the NFL yesterday, with Denver Broncos defensive tackle Daryl Gardener and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jason Gildon joining the ranks of the players put on the June free agent market.
The Broncos saved about $1.8 million on their 2004 salary cap by cutting Gardener, who was only one season into a seven-year, $34.8 million contract with Denver but clashed with Coach Mike Shanahan. He and agent Neil Schwartz lined up a four-year, $9.3 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals after being given permission by the Broncos to talk to other teams.
The Steelers cleared about $3.65 million in salary cap room by releasing Gildon.
-- Mark Maske