Two NFC East teams added veteran quarterbacks yesterday who could open the season as starters, as the New York Giants completed a two-year contract with Kurt Warner and the Dallas Cowboys signed Vinny Testaverde to a one-year deal.
The Giants want Warner, a two-time NFL most valuable player who was released by the St. Louis Rams on Tuesday, to help mentor top overall draft choice Eli Manning but will allow him to compete for the starting job.
"They told me they're going to give me every opportunity,'' Warner said at a news conference after participating in a morning practice with his new teammates. "They're going to play the best guy. My hope is to be the best guy. . . . I've sat on the bench a lot recently, and I don't like it too much."
Warner's contract is worth $9.5 million, including a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $2 million salary for the upcoming season. Incentives could push his income to around $8 million. The deal calls for a $6 million salary for the 2005 season but also contains a mechanism to void the deal and make Warner a free agent.
Warner, 32, has lost his last eight starts and was replaced by Marc Bulger last season as the Rams' starter. But he said he's healthy and eager to recapture his past form. He intends to help Manning, he said, but he also plans to play.
"The goal is that, in my time here, I make it my team as long as I'm here,'' Warner said. "I gain the confidence of my teammates as long as I'm here. At the same time, you know Eli is going to be the quarterback at some point in time."
The Giants waived quarterback Kurt Kittner to create a roster spot for Warner.
Testaverde, 40, was released by the New York Jets on Tuesday. He signed a contract with Dallas worth $1 million that contains an additional $4 million in incentives. The deal reunites Testaverde with Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells, his former coach with the Jets. Testaverde is slated to compete with Quincy Carter for the starting job.
"I didn't have that opportunity in New York,'' Testaverde, who joined his fifth NFL team, said in a news conference. "I'm just glad I have that opportunity here. . . . June 1 couldn't get here fast enough for me.''
The Cowboys likely will have Carter, Testaverde and rookie Drew Henson on the season-opening roster and might release quarterback Chad Hutchinson. "There will be competition at quarterback,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
NFL Notes: The Carolina Panthers signed Coach John Fox to a three-year contract extension through the 2008 season. . . . New England agreed to a one-year, $760,000 contract with free agent cornerback Terrell Buckley. . . . Detroit agreed to a one-year, $1.25 million deal with free agent tight end Stephen Alexander.
-- Mark Maske