FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms on a two-year, $7 million contract with quarterback Byron Leftwich, the former Jacksonville starter, the NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday.
Schefter reports that the deal does not include a signing bonus, but does contain a $1.15 million option bonus in the second year. It calls for a $2.35 million base salary this season and a $2.5 million base next season with a $1 million escalator clause.
The Falcons were looking for immediate help at quarterback and apparently found it in Leftwich, the former first-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Joey Harrington, who took over as the starter when Michael Vick was suspended by the NFL, has lost his first two starts with Atlanta and the offense is averaging only 10 points.
Vick was suspended indefinitely last month following his guilty plea on a dogfighting charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 10.
Leftwich was cut by Jacksonville in a surprise preseason move as the Jaguars chose David Garrard as their starter. Ankle and knee problems have prevented Leftwich, 27, from completing a full season. He missed 15 games the past two years.
Leftwich could join the Falcons as Harrington's backup and eventually compete for the starting job.
Harrington has been sacked 13 times, and coach Bobby Petrino said Monday the quarterback is holding the ball too long and showing a lack of confidence in his play.
"I think right now Joey is playing a little bit conservative, a little bit not to throw the interception," Petrino said. "Therefore it is causing him to hold the ball. He just needs to open it up more with confidence and play to go win the game."
Harrington was 12-for-20 passing for 200 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 13-7 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday.
Harrington's current backups are Chris Redman, who has not played in an NFL game since 2003, and Casey Bramlet, whose only professional experience came in Europe.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.