Jags say they have deal with No. 10 pick Alualu; agent disagrees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars believe they have a contract agreement with first-round draft pick Tyson Alualu.

His agent says not so fast.

The Jaguars announced Sunday night that they and Alualu had agreed on a five-year contract that would end the California defensive tackle's four-day holdout. The deal is worth about $28 million and includes more than $17 million guaranteed.

But Alualu's agent, Kenneth Zuckerman, told The Associated Press the proposed deal hadn't been approved.

"We're close, but my client has still not signed off on it," Zuckerman said. "I think they're just excited. That's all I think it is. I think someone jumped the gun."

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio and general manager Gene Smith announced the deal after practice Sunday night. Del Rio even said Alualu was planning to take a redeye flight from Hawaii and be at training camp Monday night.

But Zuckerman made it clear that Alualu hadn't accepted the offer. Zuckerman, however, said he suggested that Alualu accept the offer.

The Jaguars selected Alualu with the 10th pick in April's draft, hoping the 304-pound lineman will bolster a defense that had an NFL-worst 14 sacks last season.

Alualu is expected to take over the starting job that two-time Pro Bowl pick John Henderson occupied the last eight seasons. The Jaguars parted ways with Henderson, as well as fellow veteran defensive lineman Rob Meier and Reggie Hayward, during the offseason.

Alualu has missed five practices so far, but just one in full pads.

"Once we got into pads, that's when you'd really like them to be here and they'd like to be here," Smith said. "I know Tyson's makeup. He's got a lot of pride and wants to be with his teammates. We're so happy he'll be here (Monday)."

Alualu started 39 of 51 games at Cal and finished with 16 sacks and 190 tackles. He played defensive end as a senior, but Smith and Del Rio envision him playing alongside second-year pro Terrance Knighton for the future -- maybe even giving Jacksonville the kind of tackle tandem that Henderson and Marcus Stroud were for years.

The Jaguars were criticized for the selection, with many draft pundits saying the team reached too early for Alualu. But Smith believes Alualu has the kind of character and competitiveness that will help the Jaguars recover from consecutive losing seasons and get back to playing the kind of physical defense that defined the franchise in recent years.

Alualu is one of 19 children raised in a Polynesian culture that centers on family, and he's married with two children. He has a nonstop motor, a 35-inch vertical and was a team captain.

"I think it's important to have him here," Del Rio said. "So we'll look forward to getting him here and getting him to work. ... Once he gets here, I don't know that we'd have him go. We kind of eased into it a little bit, practice in shorts a little, shells, then pads. He's not going to quite get that, but we will lighten his load a little bit. He'll definitely have one (Oklahoma drill)."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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