Jags Working On Contract Extensions

Now that the Jaguars have reeled in some big-name free agents prizes in linebacker Mike Peterson and defensive end Hugh Douglas, the focus will be shifted back towards extending the current contracts for quarterback Mark Brunell and running back Fred Taylor.

After signing Douglas and Peterson to high-priced contracts, head coach Del Rio isn't wary of being able to strike a deal for his two veteran players.

This [contract for Peterson] won't impact that," Del Rio said. "This signing falls within the plan we mapped out."

So far, there hasn't been much process in terms of getting deals done for both Brunell and Taylor.

The Jaguars management would like to extend the 10-year veterans contract, which expires after the 2004 season, for two more years. But early on in the process, the team appears reluctant to offer Brunell anything close to the $7.5 million average salary they gave him in his last extension, so the negotiations figure to drag on for quite some time.

Last season with the Jaguars, the 6-foot-1 and 221 pound quarterback, passed for nearly 2,800 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The Jaguars would like more than anything to come to an agreement with Taylor before the season starts. The 6-foot-1 and 231 pound running back's contract expires at the end of the 2003 season and he will likely be seeing a contact to be one of the highest paid backs in the NFL. Reports have Taylor, who spent the entire 2002 season healthy for the first time in his career, seeking a $5 million dollar per season contract. It's uncertain if the Jags will be willing to pay him that type of money to Taylor who rushed for 1,399 yards last season.

"We working hard on [getting an agreement]," said Jaguars' senior vice-president Paul Vance, the team's contract negotiator. "You have to look at the running back market, what running backs get, what he's performed at and what he's potentially capable of performing. That's how you work through it."

Dave Peters


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