Thursday, August 28, 2008
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Jaguars' Harvey ends holdout, signs 5-year deal

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[August 28, 2008]  JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Defensive end Derrick Harvey ended a 33-day holdout Wednesday by signing a five-year, $23.8 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Harvey was the last first-round draft pick to sign, a lengthy holdout that frustrated coach Jack Del Rio and left the former Florida standout behind in preparation for the regular season.

RestaurantThe eighth overall selection in April, Harvey was expected to bolster a pass rush that struggled to pressure quarterbacks last season. But he missed all of training camp and the first three preseason games.

It was unclear whether Harvey would play in the preseason finale Thursday night at Washington. He did travel with the team to Washington, D.C.

"This was a long and challenging process for the player and for the team," Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said. "This was a good example of the problem Commissioner Goodell has cited with the lack of a rookie pay scale. We're all happy that Derrick can now focus on getting on the field, being a Jaguar and contributing to this team."

Harvey's deal included a little more than $17 million guaranteed and could pay him as much as $33.4 million with incentives and escalators.


Harvey had 20 1/2 career sacks with the Gators and was the defensive most valuable player of the 2007 BCS national title game against Ohio State. The Jaguars liked -- and needed -- Harvey so much that they traded up 18 spots to get him. They may not have expected him to be so expensive.

But linebacker Vernon Gholston, selected with the sixth pick by the New York Jets, signed a five-year deal worth $50 million, with $21 million guaranteed. And New Orleans gave the No. 7 pick, defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, a five-year deal that reportedly included $19.5 million guaranteed.

Harvey's agent wanted a similar deal, but the Jaguars declined to give the rookie more guaranteed money than they gave quarterback David Garrard, who signed a six-year, $60 million extension that included $18 million guaranteed. It was the richest contract in franchise history.

"There were some unusual challenges and plenty of room for honest differences of opinion," said Paul Vance, the team's vice president of football operations.

Del Rio was the most vocal, ripping the escalating contracts of first-round draft picks.

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"What's happened at the very top of the first round is ridiculous," Del Rio said last month. "When you're paying the guys who have never done anything more than star football players in this league that have played for years and established themselves at this level what they're capable of, it can be a little frustrating."

The Jaguars refused to budge from their final offer to Harvey, but they eventually gave in slightly by changing the deal's incentives and making them easier to achieve.

Now, after so many problems at the defensive end position, Jacksonville probably would prefer to see Harvey reach all of them.

James Wyche (Achilles' tendon) is out for the season. Jeremy Mincey (wrist) has missed the entire preseason. Starter Reggie Hayward is still recovering from a hamstring injury. And second-round pick Quentin Groves has looked every bit like a rookie in the last two preseason games.


"We welcome Derrick and will work hard to get him up to speed as quickly as possible," Del Rio said. "I know that Derrick has been anxious to get here. It's good for him and also for us to have this done as we finish up the preseason and prepare to start the season."

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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