Free-agent LB Barber signs with Texans

Unrestricted free agent linebacker Shawn Barber, a nine-year veteran who revived his career with a strong performance for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2006, on Tuesday signed with the Houston Texans.

The contract is for three years and about $5 million. Barber chose the Texans over the Tennessee Titans after visiting last week with officials from both teams.

Barber, 32, will be joining his fourth different franchise. His stint with Philadelphia last season was his second with the Eagles.

After injuries limited Barber to just 11 games with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004-2005, he re-established himself last season as one of the NFL's best cover linebackers last season, as he appeared in 13 contests. Playing primarily as a weakside linebacker in nickel situations, Barber notched 60 tackles and posted a career-best nine passes defensed.

Injuries have reduced the quickness with which Barber entered the NFL in 1998, but he is still adept at dropping into the flat and the short hook areas, and of covering running backs and tight ends in the short and intermediate areas.

The nickel linebacker role is one that Barber figures to reprise with the Texans, although he could, under the right circumstances, challenge for expanded playing time. Barber is also noted as a positive presence in the locker room and in 2006 he earned the Jack Edelstein Memorial Award, presented to the Eagles' player who exemplifies "an uplifting manner, a love for life, and an exceptional sense of humor."

The former University of Richmond standout was originally selected by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round of the 1998 draft. He signed with Philadelphia as a free agent in 2002, moved on to Kansas City in 2003, then returned to the Eagles last season.

In 105 games, including 76 starts, Barber has 643 tackles, 10 sacks, seven interceptions, 31 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. His best season was in 2003, his last season as a full-time starter, when he registered 141 tackles and five sacks for the Chiefs.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.