Kendrell Bell was having trouble convincing teams he can stay healthy. The Chiefs were having difficulty convincing fans they were getting better on defense after losing out on Samari Rolle and other defensive players.
That made Bell and the Chiefs a perfect fit. Bell reached a contract agreement for more than $5 million a year that included $10 million in guarantees. The deal, which is being finalized Tuesday, will be seven years in length.
The former Steelers inside linebacker missed four games in 2002 and almost the entire 2004 season because of injuries. Most teams wanted to do a provisional deal that would pay him well for one year but give them the option to let him go after the season.
The Chiefs decided on a conventional deal that includes a signing bonus and future guarantees. Bell had visited the Giants to open free agency and hoped to get a $13 million signing bonus and $6 million a year.
But the Giants had questions about his sports hernia surgery and durability, opting to sign Redskins middle linebacker Antonio Pierce. The Chiefs had been juggling their emphasis at linebacker between Bell and Ed Hartwell of the Ravens, ending up with Bell.
Bell is a 6-foot-1, 254-pound linebacker who had nine sacks as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl in 2001. The Sporting News named him Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2001.
"We're pleased to acquire Kendrell's services and we think he will make an impact for the Chiefs in 2005 and beyond," team president Carl Peterson said. "He's a quality football player, as
well as a quality person."
Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.