The Jacksonville Jaguars finally made good on a promise to make Tony Boselli the highest-paid offensive lineman in football Tuesday, agreeing to a four-year contract extension worth $26 million.
The All-Pro left tackle, widely considered the best in the NFL, will play out two of the final three years of his current contract, which pays him an average of $2.5 million per year.
The contract will take effect in 2001 and will keep him in Jacksonville through 2004, a source familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The Jaguars would not comment on the signing, but the Florida Times-Union and radio station WBWL in Jacksonville also reported the four-year extension Tuesday.
Boselli will average $6.5 million a year under the new deal, surpassing tackle Lomas Brown as the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. Last month, the Cleveland Browns signed Brown to a contract that averaged out to $4.5 million per year.
The deal secures the player who became the cornerstone of the franchise in 1995, when the Jaguars used their first-ever draft pick to select him.
It also closes a contentious period that began last year when team owner Wayne Weaver, pressed about the possibility of renegotiating Boselli's contract, promised that he would "take care" of his star lineman in the near future.
A whole season passed with no deal and this week's NFL meetings in Phoenix - where Jaguars officials met with Boselli's agent - were considered a crucial period for the negotiations, with the team's voluntary offseason workout program set to begin March 23.
With Boselli's signing, the Jaguars now have the entire core of their offense - quarterback Mark Brunell, receivers Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, running back Fred Taylor and right tackle Leon Searcy - in the midst of long-term deals.
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