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ESPN: Packers Ink CB to Long Term Deal

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Hostile, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. Hostile

    Hostile Persona Non Grata Zone Supporter

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    Saturday, September 11, 2004


    By Len Pasquarelli
    ESPN.com

    One cornerback's recalcitrance became another's reward, as the Green Bay Packers reached agreement with starter Al Harris on a contract extension.


    The deal with Harris came as starting left cornerback Mike McKenzie continued a long holdout that kept him out of training camp and the preseason, and shows no indications of being resolved anytime soon.


    Harris, 29, was entering the final season of his current contract and would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency next spring. Instead, he will sign an extension of four or five years.


    Financial details were not available Saturday, but the deal is expected to include total bonuses of $6 million-$7 million and average yearly compensation of about $4 million.


    Securing Harris, the starter at right cornerback, was critical because he is the Packers' most veteran cornerback, and because McKenzie's future remains very much undecided. McKenzie has suggested he has no designs on returning to the Packers, is seeking a trade and doesn't appear ready to alter his stance.


    "He is very comfortable with his position, and Packers people know that," agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN.com earlier this week. "Mike is very serious about sitting out until they trade him. We've had a real open dialogue with the Packers and they know exactly where he stands. I don't see a resolution on the horizon."


    A five-year veteran, McKenzie has three years remaining on the five-year extension he signed at the end of the 2001 campaign. His base salary for 2003 is $2.75 million, and he will lose $161,764 of that if he does not report in time for the Monday night regular-season opener at Carolina. It is believed that McKenzie, who can be fined as much as $5,000 per day because he is under contract, also has amassed substantial penalties.


    Rosenhaus, McKenzie's fifth agent since he entered the NFL in '99, has tried to convince Packers brass to deal his client. While there are some potential suitors, the New Orleans Saints primary among them, no one seems willing to meet Green Bay's price, which was set this spring at first- and fifth-round draft choices. The Saints have remained in close contact with the Packers and are said to have proposed a deal that includes a second-round choice and a player.


    For now, however, McKenzie remains home in Memphis, taking classes toward his degree, working out with a personal trainer and allowing Rosenhaus to do all his talking. He has politely declined all interview requests, has spoken by phone and in person to some teammates, but has not flinched.


    Green Bay officials, including head coach/general manager Mike Sherman, have said they will welcome McKenzie back if he opts to report, but no one expects him to blink.


    The unsettled nature of McKenzie's future clearly was a factor in the Packers' rewarding Harris, but certainly not the primary component. One of the team's hardest workers, Harris has enhanced his leadership role and, with a base salary of $1.35 million for 2004, was probably underpaid. Plus, the Packers could not afford to let him depart as an unrestricted free agent after this season.


    Green Bay chose cornerbacks -- Ahmad Carroll (No. 1) and Joey Thomas (No. 3a) -- with its first two draft choices this year, and they likely represent the Packers' future. But, while both youngsters demonstrated nice progress this summer, neither seems ready yet to step into the starting lineup. Green Bay will use journeyman Michael Hawthorne in McKenzie's spot for Monday night's opener.


    Harris came to the Packers in a 2003 trade, from Philadelphia, where he was one of the NFL's best nickel corners. In 2003, for the first time in his career, he started all 16 games, totaling 48 tackles, three interceptions and 14 passes defensed. It was his interception and 52-yard return for a touchdown that allowed the Packers to defeat Seattle in overtime in a wild-card round playoff matchup.


    For his career, Harris, a six-year veteran who has never missed a game, has 200 tackles, 10 interceptions and 69 passes defensed. He has appeared in 96 contests and has started in 38 of them.
  2. Tio

    Tio Armchair QB

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    Man, some guys can suck so bad but get lucky with stupid management.
  3. Mr Cowboy

    Mr Cowboy Well-Known Member

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    By Bill Huber
    Date: Sep 11, 2004

    There was no confirmation from the Packers as of Saturday morning, but starting cornerback Al Harris reportedly has signed a four-year contract extension that will keep the free-agent-to-be here through the 2008 season.

    The signing is the latest example of the Packers moving preemptively to lock up their important players before they reach free agency. The Packers reached similar agreements with, among others, wide receiver Robert Ferguson, running back Ahman Green and cornerback Mike McKenzie.

    According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the deal is worth between $4 million and $5 million per season with up to $7 million in bonus money.

    Signing Harris is a critical move, especially if McKenzie makes good on his threat to never play again for the Packers. Harris has emerged as a productive player and team leader. During training camp, between plays Harris almost always could be seen either talking to his fellow defensive backs or position coaches Kurt Schottenheimer or LionelWashington.

    Despite not being the fastest corner in the league, Harris makes up for it with a physical style of football. He’s one of the best in the business playing bump-and-run coverage. He comes with a high football IQ, as evidenced by his interception and touchdown return against Seattle in the playoffs in January.

    Harris turns 30 on Dec. 7. Because he was a backup for much of his career, playing behind standout cornerbacks Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent in Philadelphia, Harris doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his body. He was acquired by the Packers during the 2003 draft for a second-round draft choice, and played all 16 games last season with three interceptions. One of those came against Detroit, which he ran back for a touchdown.

    Harris’ base salary last season was $1.05 million and slated to be $1.35 million for the coming season, a great bargain for the Packers.

    Even if McKenzie never comes back, extending Harris should solidify the Packers’ secondary for years, if rookies Ahmad Carroll and Joey Thomas live up to their abundant promise.
  4. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven New Member

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    All the more reason to trade for McKenzie. They are asking for a 1st and a 5th. I would be willing to part with one of our first round choices (Ours, not Buffalo's) and see if we could deal something other than a fifth. Maybe a player like Thorton or Dixon.
  5. da_boyz_mk

    da_boyz_mk How 'Bout Dem Cowboys

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    i bet mckenzie is pi$$ed
  6. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

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    As much as I'd love to bring in a vet, I really don't want McKenzie on the team. He is a good CB, but this guy strikes me as not being quite right upstairs.

    Even if we traded for him, he'd end up pissing off Parcells and being cut 2 hours later. ;)
  7. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Yep.

    Get the suitcases out of the basement. They could be getting used pretty soon.
  8. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    I wouldnt...he is an average to above average CB at best...he lacks speed and gets beat deep quite a bit...you dont trad 1st rd picks for average players, especially players that agree to contracts and then 2 yrs later want a new deal for ridiculous money

    David
  9. RatisBeast

    RatisBeast Chevy Guy

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    wow, he's cashing in pretty solidly. Not bad from a guy that went to college around here.
  10. Mr Cowboy

    Mr Cowboy Well-Known Member

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    Yes sir, from my alma mater.....the mighty Javelinas of Texas A&I University. The same school that brought you Gene Upshaw and Darrel Green..............
  11. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

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    Wow. You mention players from A&I, but fail to menion John Randle's name?
  12. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    That's a lot of coin for a corner that is above average but hardly in the top 12 in the NFL.
  13. Hollywood Henderson

    Hollywood Henderson Benched

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    I agree with Eskimo & David on McKenzie...

    I thought he was wore out when the Pack was beat in the playoffs last year...Too much smoking bud?

    No thanks...

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