RICKY'S NEW DEAL

Ricky Williams had more than one reason to be happy on Sunday. Not only did he have a successful regular season debut with the Dolphins, he also has a new contract.

Actually, the proper way to phrase it is to say it's an adjusted contract.

Williams was under contract through 2006 with the deal he had signed with the Saints after being the fifth overall pick in the 1999 draft. But it was a contract that, in the words of Williams' new agent Leigh Steinberg, cried to be redone because it included a ridiculously low base salary and almost-impossible-to-reach incentives.

What the Dolphins did was make the incentives easier to reach, which means Williams is likely to earn significantly more over the five years.

The length of the contract wasn't changed, nor was the base salary. The incentive package also won't change Williams' salary-cap figure for this season.

"If he is productive and doing well for us, we want to have a contract that will compensate him fairly," said Rick Spielman, the Dolphins' senior vice president-football operations/player personnel. "It's something we didn't have to do, but we felt it was important."


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