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Monday, March 2, 2009
Updated: March 3, 7:42 PM ET
Ward agrees with Buccaneers

By John Clayton
ESPN.com

New York Giants running back Derrick Ward cashed in on his 1,025-yard season by reaching a four-year, $17 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Ward
Ward

"I'm a variety of things. I can be a pass-receiving running back, a one-cut and up running back, a power running back. I can do it all," said Ward, who joins former Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow as prominent additions since the end of the season.

Though many football people believed he would be going to the Cleveland Browns in free agency, Ward made a visit to the Bucs that convinced him to cancel his other trips. Over the weekend, Ward made a quick visit to the Broncos. He had also been in conversations with the Giants about re-signing.

Basically, the Bucs gave him an offer he couldn't refuse.

"I think my style of running, my style of play will fit in perfect. We have all the key components for a great offense," Ward said. "With the transactions they made this offseason, it only bolstered the offense, so I'm looking forward to great things."

In the first year alone, the league source indicated Ward would earn $6 million guaranteed. He'll make $9.25 million over the first two years and $13 million over the first three.
2008: Best of Derrick Ward

NFL.com Video

Watch the best of Giants RB Derrick Ward during the 2008 season.

"I'm happy for Derrick. They got a good player. Obviously you hate to lose a good player like Derrick. It's a good move by Tampa Bay," New York general manager Jerry Reese said.

The 228-pound Ward is a power back with plenty of impact. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry. What's more amazing is that he gained 1,025 yards last year even though he only started three games.

In 2007, Ward rushed for 602 yards on 125 caries and had three touchdowns.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this story.