NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The 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 coordinator 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 offseason, 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.
Barnes prematurely tweeted the news of his agreement on Twitter, then backtracked before finally announcing the deal was official.
“Green and white it is…just want to thank coach rex coach DT and mr idzilk for the opportunity..and to the fans I won’t let u down #jets,” Barnes initially announced via Twitter.
His follow up: “Wait a minute…not official yet…in talks now…#letsgetadealdone.”
Finally, Barnes tweeted a photo of himself signing the deal: “Now its official #jetnation.”
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.
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 favorite 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.
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