The Kansas City Chiefs have reached an agreement with veteran quarterback Damon Huard on a three-year extension that takes him off the unrestricted market and further dilutes the pool of players who will be available at the position when the free-agency signing period begins on Friday.
Financial details were not immediately available on Huard's new deal, but it clearly represents a substantial raise. Huard earned a base salary of $710,000 in 2006, the NFL minimum for a player of his tenure.
"Damon had an excellent year in 2006 and contributed directly
to getting our team to the playoffs," Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson said in a release. "Damon is an excellent veteran player and an outstanding person.
We're delighted to have him under contract."
The extension provides much-needed security for the Chiefs, who must decide in the offseason about the future of incumbent starter Trent Green, who missed half the 2006 campaign with a head injury. Even when healthy, Green wasn't nearly as effective in 2006 working in a new offense, and, at age 36, is probably nearing the end of his career.
Kansas City may increasingly look to second-year veteran Brodie Croyle, the team's third-round choice in the 2006 draft, as its quarterback of the future. But securing the services of Huard, who probably would have generated interest in the free-agent market, provides stability on the depth chart.
Huard, 33, resurrected his career in 2006 when he replaced the injured Green and posted a 5-3 record in eight starts. His performance helped keep the Chiefs alive in the wild-card playoff race while Green recovered from the head injury that he sustained in the season opener.
The 10-year veteran completed 148 of 244 passes for 1,878 yards, with 11 touchdown passes and one interception, and an efficiency rating of 98.0. What made the performance more remarkable was that Huard had played so little in previous seasons.
From 2001-2005, Huard started no games and registered just one pass attempt. His last playing time of any consequence came in 1999, when he started five games for the Miami Dolphins.
For his career, Huard has completed 318 of 533 passes for 3,569 yards, with 20 touchdown passes, nine interceptions and a passer rating of 85.2. In addition to Miami (1997-2000), he has played with New England (2001-03) and Kansas City (2004-06).
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer at ESPN.com.