Reynolds Agrees to Multiyear Contract

Defensive end Jamal Reynolds and the Green Bay Packers agreed to a five-year contract Wednesday, allowing the team's top draft pick to arrive on time for the start of training camp. Reynolds is the sixth and final 2001 draft pick to be signed.

"We're very excited that this is a player we'll have in camp," said Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman. "As you know when players don't come in on time all kinds of things happen. It becomes very disruptive to your team, so to have that flow going into that season is important to me. We're expecting tremendous things out of this young man."

Reynolds made it clear to his agents, David Dunn and Joby Branion, that he wanted to be in camp on time. So Dunn and Branion negotiated all day Tuesday with Packers negotiator Andrew Brandt to seal the deal.

When all was said and done, Reynolds received a five-year that reportedly will pay him just over $9 million. The deal includes a $4 million signing bonus, a guaranteed $2 million option bonus in 2002 and escalators that could increase his total earnings to $10.5 million, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"Coming from Florida State, I've seen a lot of guys been held out and be thrown right into practice, guys like Corey Simon and Andre Wadsworth," said Reynolds. "I watched all those guys do that when I was back in Tallahassee training. Those guys were still down there with us.

"I would be like, 'Aren't you supposed to be in camp?' I remember with Wadsworth, he had to go straight in and play in a game. He got off to a slow start and then got injured. That's why I think it's smart to get in and get on the same page with the rest of the guys."

The Packers are hoping Reynolds will improve an ineffective pass rush. Green Bay traded away quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in April to move up seven places in the draft's first round and acquire Reynolds with the 10th overall pick.

"I believe Jamal Reynolds will be able to increase our ability to rush the passer - he brings an awful lot in that area," said Sherman. "He has extraordinary speed, sub-4.6, so that can generate quite a bit of speed off the edge. In my mind, I've matched him against all the left tackles in this league, and I think he can perform well.

"We felt that he was the best pass rusher and all-around defensive end in this year's draft. He is a force as a pass rusher - those guys are hard to find. I think Jamal will help our defense immediately."

The Packers rated Reynolds, 21, as the second best defensive lineman in the draft behind Florida's Gerard Warren. Warren was taken No. 3 overall by Cleveland. Defensive ends Justin Smith (Bengals) and Andre Carter (49ers), and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (Patriots) were selected ahead of Reynolds.

Reynolds, the highest overall draft choice since defensive back Terrell Buckley was taken with the fifth pick in 1992, is expected to play immediately, at least on third-down situations. He will challenge veteran John Thierry for the starting "elephant" end position during training camp.

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