Jaguars show commitment to projected starter Meier

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars gave defensive tackle Rob Meier a bigger contract to go along with his bigger role.

Meier, who is replacing three-time Pro Bowler Marcus Stroud in the starting lineup this season, signed a four-year contract extension Thursday.

Although financial details weren't disclosed, Meier said the new deal will pay more than the $2.095 million he was due in the final year of his previous contract.

Meier's deal also came two days after defensive end Paul Spicer failed to show up for the team's first voluntary workout of the offseason while seeking a new contract.

"We'll see where that goes," coach Jack Del Rio said Thursday. "From our standpoint, we feel like we made fair, legitimate proposals to both guys. One guy is happy with it, and the other is out there waiting."

The 31-year-old Meier, now under contract through 2012, has been the team's most durable and versatile defensive lineman the last eight seasons.

Playing every position on the line and missing just five games, Meier has 262 tackles and 19.5 sacks since Jacksonville drafted the Canadian in the seventh round in 2000.

He spent most of his career playing behind Stroud and two-time Pro Bowl tackle John Henderson. But now the Jags are counting on him to contribute more.

"It's a great thing," Meier said. "It's always tough to lose someone like Marcus Stroud. He's a great friend and I wish him the best up in Buffalo. But I'm excited about it."

Some thought the Jaguars might draft a defensive tackle to help replace Stroud, but Del Rio said he felt very strongly that Meier would be able to fill the void left by trading Stroud in March.

Meier started a career-high nine games last season and finished with 37 tackles and four sacks.

"He's been a solid, hardworking player," Del Rio said. "He's gotten better every year we've been here. He probably played his best football last year. He was very disruptive in the middle. He's got some sneakiness in the pass rush, he shows up around the quarterback quite a bit and he's been solid for us in the run game. We're happy with Rob."

Meier was equally pleased to get a chance to play his entire career in Jacksonville. He planned to celebrate the extension with a trip to the Bahamas to dive with reef sharks.

That's a fairly mild adventure for a 6-foot-5, 308-pound adrenaline junkie who spends much of his spare time searching for the next rush. He's been hang gliding and skydiving several times, and even performed aerial maneuvers in a vintage World War II training plane.

Just a few months ago, Meier and his wife, former college tennis player Ana Moura, hiked China's Great Wall. They ended that trip by zip-lining off the wall.

"Nothing spectacular," he said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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