JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars gave up on big-time bust Derrick Harvey and longtime starter Vince Manuwai -- for much different reasons.
The Jaguars released Harvey and Manuwai on Friday, helping clear roster spots for key free agents Paul Posluszny, Clint Session, Dawan Landry, Drew Coleman, Jason Spitz and Matt Turk. The cuts were hardly similar, though.
Harvey, the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft, showed little progress in three seasons. He had eight sacks in 47 career games. The Jaguars gave up four picks to move up 18 spots and select the former Florida standout. Harvey held out 33 days before signing a five-year, $33 million contract that included a little more than $17 million guaranteed.
But his production never matched his potential or his paycheck. Coach Jack Del Rio moved Harvey from the premier right side to the left, reduced his snaps and eventually benched him last season. He was due to make $3 million this season.
Manuwai, a third-round pick who started 105 games in eight seasons, showed up at training camp with a torn tendon in his left ankle and overweight. Considering he was due to make $3.5 million this season, the Jaguars simply couldn't keep an aging veteran who was out of shape. He also acknowledged having "personal issues."
Manuwai handled the news well, taking time to say goodbye to teammates and friends before leaving the building. He said he would consider returning to Jacksonville at a lower salary, but knows he has work to do before he's ready to play again.
"First things first, I gotta get my mind right, get everything into balance, get where I'm supposed to be," said Manuwai, who reported to camp at 344 pounds. "Once I can start running, shedding 15, 20 pounds is not a problem. It's the easy weight to lose. Basically you do a diet and you lose 10 pounds easily."
The Jaguars quickly moved to replace Manuwai by signing Spitz to a three-year, $4.5 million contract. Spitz spent the last five years in Green Bay, but is returning to his hometown. The Jaguars also have rookie Will Rackley, a third-round pick, at the position.
Spitz, Posluszny, Session and Turk arrived in Jacksonville on Friday to sign contracts. Posluszny got a six-year deal worth $45 million. Session inked a five-year contract worth $29 million. Turk's one-year deal is worth nearly $2 million.
Jacksonville also agreed to terms on a five-year deal with Landry and a three-year contract with Coleman.
Landry, a hard-hitting safety who spent the last five years in Baltimore, has 362 tackles, nine interceptions and five sacks despite missing most of the 2008 season because of a neck injury. Coleman was used mostly as a nickel back the last six years with the New York Jets and will have the same role in Jacksonville. His deal could be worth as much as $7.4 million.
None of the free agents will be able to practice until the new collective bargaining agreement has been ratified.
To make room for them on the roster, the Jaguars also released safety Tyron Brackenridge and quarterback Scott Riddle. Harvey, though, was the most notable transaction. Jacksonville swapped first-round picks with Baltimore and gave up two third-rounders and a fourth to move up in 2008. But Harvey never panned out, and the defense started to struggle around him.
Parting ways with Harvey and adding Posluszny, Session, Landry and Coleman should significantly upgrade a unit that ranked 28th in the league last season and allowed a franchise record 419 points.
"We're making moves to allow this team to get better -- instantly," cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "It's a lot of excitement going on. That's pretty much the only way you can look at it right now. We're doing what it takes to win ballgames."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press