Jaguars re-sign veterans Meester, Starks; add Considine

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars opened free agency Friday by re-signing center Brad Meester and cornerback Scott Starks, then adding safety Sean Considine.

It wasn't the big moves the Jaguars have made in recent years -- they signed defensive end Reggie Hayward, cornerback Brian Williams, right tackle Tony Pashos, cornerback Drayton Florence and receiver Jerry Porter to open free agency the last four years -- and maybe with good reason.

Most of those moves backfired, especially the signings of Florence and Porter, and owner Wayne Weaver has decided to be more frugal this time around.

Meester, Starks and Considine could be the highlight of the team's offseason signings. The Jaguars have made it clear they want to revamp their roster through the draft, meaning no more big-money free agents. So far, the offseason has been more about who's leaving than who's coming.

Jacksonville parted ways with several coaches, most notably defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and released Florence, Porter, running back Fred Taylor and defensive end Paul Spicer. The Jaguars also have no plans to re-sign linebacker Mike Peterson, safety Gerald Sensabaugh, left tackle Khalif Barnes and receiver Reggie Williams. Taylor, Spicer and Peterson all were captains last season.

"Obviously, part of the thing that we kept talking about was addressing the character issue, and I think we're going to have a group of guys in here that are going to really gel together really well, and I think that's what really makes a great football team," Meester said. "I think you'll find that scrappy team that'll do anything it takes to get a win."

Meester signed a four-year deal worth $10 million. Considine, a fourth-round draft pick in 2005 who spent the last four seasons in Philadelphia, signed a two-year contract worth $3 million. He visited Jacksonville on Friday and signed in the evening after passing a physical.

Terms of Starks' deal were not available.

Meester, a second-round pick in 2000, started a franchise-record 92 consecutive games to begin his career. But he's been plagued by injuries the last four seasons.

He missed the entire preseason and the first six games last year after injuring his biceps in training camp. He missed the first four games in 2007 because of a broken ankle, and sat out the last four games in 2005 because of a torn biceps tendon.

With Meester's return, the Jaguars should have four starters back along an offensive line that used to be the team's strength. Guards Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams are expected to return from season-ending injuries sustained in the opener.

"With an offensive line, so much of it is just being able to work together and having that time together," Meester said. "Obviously myself being hurt the last couple years has definitely hurt, and having the guys go down last year ... it was tough.

"They did a great job given the circumstances, but having everybody back and being able to work this entire offseason and work together, we'll be able to get back to that form that we were."

Starks and Considine, both of whom have played mostly on special teams, could vie for starting spots in a secondary that struggled most of last season.

A third-round pick in 2005, Starks has 48 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and 44 special teams tackles in 49 career games. He missed most of last season after tearing a knee ligament in the third game.

Considine has 17 career starts with the Eagles, totaling 165 tackles, seven pass breakups, two interceptions and 1.5 sacks.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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