Redskins reward RB Betts with five-year extension

Ladell Betts considered hitting the lucrative free-agent market in 2007, but he opted to go with the safe money of the Washington Redskins.

Betts, 28, signed a five-year extension Friday worth $11 million, but the key was in the early payout of the deal. He got $3.5 million in signing bonus money this year and a $2 million roster bonus in 2007. With half of the money going to him early, Betts figured it was the best of all worlds.

Most importantly, he wanted to stay with the Redskins and head coach Joe Gibbs. He's comfortable working with Clinton Portis and being part of a one-two running punch. The 5-foot-10, 222-pound back is in his fifth season with the team. He was a second-round choice in 2002.

"They were the first team to give me the opportunity to play in
the NFL, so I'm loyal to that," said Betts. "I've had nothing but a good experience so
far since I've been here."

With Portis on the injured reserve list, Bettis is having a career year. He's rushed for 643 yards on 141 attempts, career highs. He's also caught 50 passes for 301 yards. Last week against Atlanta he rushed for 155 yards.

"Ladell, since I've been here, everything we've asked him to
do, he's done," Gibbs said. "He and Clinton have been an
excellent tandem back there. We feel like he's a Redskin -- he's our
kind of guy. It's something we don't have to worry about going into
the offseason."

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.