Update: Packers give Ferguson extension

Coming off the best season of his young career, the Green Bay Packers on Tuesday extended the contract of wide receiver Robert Ferguson through the 2008 season in a deal worth a reported $10.87 million.

The club did not release financial details, and vice president of player finance Andrew Brandt would not divulge specifics during a conference call with reporters.

"Robert doesn't want terms disclosed. He's a very quiet, unassuming guy and we have to respect his wishes," Eric Overstreet told the Associated Press. Overstreet's brother and business associate, Brian, is Ferguson's agent.

A source told ESPN.com that Ferguson will receive base salaries of $455,000 in 2004, $545,000 in 2005, $1.4 million in 2006, $1.8 million in 2007 and $2.2 million in 2008. The amount of the signing bonus was not disclosed, though the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported it being $3.5 million. That gives Ferguson a 2004 salary cap number of $1.155 million, up from the scheduled $820,000, that newspaper reported.

The contract includes a reported $1 million bonus should Ferguson be on the 2005 roster.

A second-round draft choice (No. 41 overall) out of Texas A&M in 2001, Ferguson was a first-year flop, playing in just one of 16 games and not catching a single pass. Ferguson struggled with nearly every facet of the game, in large part due to him playing just one year of major-college football after spending two seasons in junior college. Packers quarterback Brett Favre, meanwhile, took Ferguson to task for a perceived poor work ethic on the practice field and in his studies.

Ferguson made strides, however, in his second season. He started just one game but caught 22 passes for 293 yards (13.3 average) and three touchdowns.

Locked in a training camp battle with 2002 first-rounder Javon Walker for the starting position opposite Donald Driver last season, Ferguson emerged the winner. He played in 15 games, with a dozen starts, and caught 38 passes for 520 yards (13.7 average) and four touchdowns. He capped the season by catching a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter of the playoff loss at Philadelphia.

A part-time kickoff returner — he returned two kickoffs as a rookie, six in 2002 and seven in 2003 — Ferguson is a standout special-teams performer. He tallied a team-high 17 tackles on special teams, mostly as a gunner on punt coverage.

Like the rest of the Packers' offense, Ferguson played his best ball at season's end. In a 34-21 victory over Chicago on Dec. 7, Ferguson caught a season-high seven passes. A week later, in a 38-21 victory at San Diego, Ferguson caught a pair of game-breaking fourth-quarter touchdown passes. In Favre's remarkable game against Oakland the following week, Ferguson caught three passes for a season-high 85 yards. In the playoff game against the Eagles, Ferguson caught four passes for 65 yards, both team highs.

The Packers are 7-0 in regular-season games in which he leads the team in receptions and/or scores a touchdown.

The contract extension continues the Packers' trend of re-signing their players before they reach free agency. Among that group are cornerback Mike McKenzie and right tackle Mark Tauscher. Ferguson would have been an unrestricted free agent after the coming season.

The signing means Favre's top three receivers, Ferguson, Walker and Driver, are signed through at least 2006.

"We're glad that our top three is under contract at least three more years, and maybe Brett Favre's glad, too," Brandt said.

Brandt said the money saved on the salary cap by releasing Joe Johnson was used to sign Ferguson as well as quarterback Tim Couch.

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