The Buffalo Bills have seen three starting cornerbacks leave town via free agency in the last five years.
They made sure it wouldn't happen a fourth time by signing Terrence McGee to a contract extension Friday.
The team did not release details, but an NFL source said McGee received a four-year deal worth $27 million in new money. The extension means he'll be with the Bills through 2013.
The contract is a huge increase over McGee's previous deal, a four-year, $18 million extension that expires at the end of this season. He is due to make $3 million in base salary in 2009.
"I'm excited and relieved to get it done," McGee said Friday. "It's good to know I'm going to be here for a while longer."
McGee's signing breaks a disturbing trend for the Bills, who haven't had much success holding onto their best cornerbacks.
Antoine Winfield left after the 2003 season and signed with Minnesota. Nate Clements, who succeeded Winfield as the Bills' No. 1 corner, departed in 2007 and signed a mega-million dollar deal with San Francisco. The Bills also said goodbye to Jabari Greer, who was the No. 2 corner behind McGee the last two years before joining New Orleans during the offseason.
But the Bills were determined to lock up McGee before he became a free agent.
Bills Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Russ Brandon was not available for comment.
"Russ Brandon, [Vice President of Pro Personnel] John Guy and [Senior V.P. of Football Administration] Jim Overdorf were committed to making sure that Terrence stayed a Bill," said McGee's Buffalo-based agent, Ron Raccuia. "It was a priority for both parties to stay together. We were fortunate to get it done."
McGee, who turns 29 in October, has started for the Bills the last five seasons. The seven-year veteran has 16 career interceptions (seven in the last two years) and has averaged 84 tackles a season as a starter. He also has held his own in drawing the assignment of the opposing team's No. 1 receiver the last two seasons.
McGee reached the Pro Bowl as a kickoff return man in 2005 and an alternate in 2006, but relinquished the job to fellow cornerback Leodis McKelvin last season.
Given his resume, McGee could have played out his contract and entered what has become a very lucrative free agent market for cornerbacks.
New York Giants corner Corey Webster and Indianapolis' Kelvin Hayden both received deals averaging more than $8 million annually last December and March, respectively. McGee has been more productive than both, though Webster, 27, and Hayden, 26, are younger. Even Winfield, 32, who is three years older than McGee, got a $7.2 million-per-year contract before training camp.
McGee may have gotten less money than Webster and Hayden, but he's not complaining. McGee felt the rewards of his deal outweigh the risk of a serious injury during the season hurting his value on the open market.
"I was just looking for something fair," McGee said. "I wasn't trying to break the bank. There were a lot of other things I took into consideration in signing this deal. At the end of the day, it made sense to me."
McGee's decision was driven by more than money.
"He loves Buffalo," Raccuia said. "The city has embraced him, he's embraced the city. He's become an important part of the community with his charitable work, and it was important for him to stay. There's a part of him as well that wants to help make this team successful. There's some unfinished business here that he felt like he could have an impact on."
McGee admitted that he was concerned that contract talks could drag on through the season. He even thought he might end up following Winfield, Clements and Greer out the door when negotiations didn't yield an agreement before the regular season began.
"Yeah, that was in the back of my mind," McGee said. "I don't know if it would have come to that, but I'm glad it didn't. I'm here and this is where I wanted to be, so I'm happy about it. To be in my seventh year with the same team that drafted me, it's a blessing."