The Chicago Bears signed free agent offensive tackle John Tait of Kansas City to a six-year offer sheet.

The Chiefs have through Friday to match the offer, or the 6-foot-6, 323-pound six-year veteran from BYU becomes a member of the Bears. Tait played for the Cougars through the 1998 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Tait was designated a transition free agent by the Chiefs before the March 3 start of free agency. As a result, there is no compensation due Kansas City if the Bears obtain Tait.

Because of salary cap considerations, the Chiefs would have to renegotiate some contracts or cut players to accommodate re-signing Tait.

The Chiefs moved Tait from left tackle to right tackle after the 2001 season when they acquired left tackle Willie Roaf from New Orleans. Tait has started 51 consecutive games, including every game the past two years at right tackle.

The Bears have not made clear whether they intend to start Tait at right or left tackle. Much depends on whether 2002 first-round draft pick Marc Colombo recovers from two operations on his left knee before the 2003 season.

FALCONS MOVES: After agreeing to pay defensive tackle Rod Coleman a $10 million signing bonus Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons arranged a meeting with quarterback Jeff Garcia.

Coleman, who will sign a six-year deal Monday worth $28.5 million, started a career-high 12 games and had 5 1/2 sacks for Oakland last season. The Raiders' fifth-round draft pick out of East Carolina in 1999, Coleman led NFL interior linemen with 11 sacks two years ago.

Garcia, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, appears to be an awkward, pricey match as the Falcons pursue an experienced backup to Michael Vick. After visiting the Cleveland Browns on Friday, Garcia huddled at a hotel near the Atlanta airport with general manager Rich McKay and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.

STEELERS STAY HOME: The Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in-house Saturday to make their first major free-agent signing of the offseason, bringing back linebacker Clark Haggans in a move that likely means former All-Pro outside linebacker Jason Gildon won't return.

Haggans, a reserve since being a fifth-round draft pick in 2000, signed a $10.2 million, four-year contract that includes a $3 million signing bonus. He has been used primarily as a pass rusher on passing downs and on special teams, getting six sacks in 2002.

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JETS ADD BARTON: Linebacker Eric Barton, who went to a Super Bowl with Oakland, and cornerback David Barrett signed with the New York Jets on Saturday.

The Jets added the free agents on the same day they re-signed placekicker Doug Brien.

Barton, 26, was a key member of the Raiders' defense that helped them win the 2002 AFC championship. Perennially one of Oakland's leading tacklers, he had 131 tackles last season, when the Raiders struggled defensively.

Barrett, also 26, started 39 of 62 games in four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He had six interceptions, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

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