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Jaguars rookie Harvey ends holdout, signs five-year deal

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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» First-round signing update

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Defensive end Derrick Harvey ended a 33-day holdout on Wednesday by signing a five-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The deal is worth $33.4 million and includes $17.177 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network's Adam Schefter.

Harvey was the last first-round draft pick to sign, a lengthy holdout that frustrated coach Jack Del Rio and left the former Florida standout behind in drills heading into the regular season.

Doug Benc / Getty Images
Derrick Harvey finally ended his holdout after 33 days.

The eighth overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, Harvey was expected to bolster a pass rush that struggled to pressure quarterbacks last season. But he missed all of training camp and the first three preseason games.

The Jaguars activated Harvey on Thursday. He flew to Washington, D.C., for the team's preseason finale against the Washington Redskins and appeared in the second half of the game.

"This was a long and challenging process for the player and for the team," Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said. "This was a good example of the problem Commissioner Goodell has cited with the lack of a rookie pay scale. We're all happy that Derrick can now focus on getting on the field, being a Jaguar and contributing to this team."

Harvey had 20.5 career sacks with the Gators and was the defensive most valuable player of the 2007 BCS national title game against Ohio State. The Jaguars liked -- and needed -- Harvey so much that they traded up 18 spots to get him. They may not have expected him to be so expensive, however.

But linebacker Vernon Gholston, selected with the sixth pick by the New York Jets, signed a five-year deal worth $50 million, with $21 million guaranteed. And New Orleans gave the No. 7 pick, defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, a five-year deal that reportedly included $19.5 million guaranteed.

Harvey's agent wanted a similar deal, but the Jaguars refused to give the rookie more guaranteed money than they gave quarterback David Garrard, who signed a six-year, $60 million extension that included $18 million guaranteed. It was the richest contract in franchise history.

Del Rio, meanwhile, ripped the escalating contracts of first-round draft picks.

"What's happened at the very top of the first round is ridiculous," Del Rio said. "When you're paying the guys who have never done anything more than star football players in this league that have played for years and established themselves at this level what they're capable of, it can be a little frustrating."

The Jaguars refused to budge from their final offer to Harvey, but they eventually changed the deal's incentives, making them easier to achieve.

Now, after so many problems at the defensive end position, Jacksonville probably would prefer to see Harvey reach all of the incentives.

James Wyche (Achilles' tendon) is out for the season. Jeremy Mincey (wrist) has missed the entire preseason. Starter Reggie Hayward is still recovering from a hamstring injury. And second-round pick Quentin Groves has looked every bit like a rookie in the last two preseason games.

Note: The Jaguars placed tight end George Wrighster on the physically-unable-to-perform-list on Thursday to make room for Harvey on the roster.

Wrighster missed all of training camp and the preseason because of a knee injury and will not be eligible to practice or play for the first six weeks of the regular season. Wrighster has 92 career receptions for 815 yards and nine touchdowns.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report

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