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Jaguars Make Boselli Highest-Paid

March 17, 1999

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ The Jacksonville Jaguars finally made good on a promise to make Tony Boselli the highest-paid offensive lineman in football Tuesday, agreeing to a four-year contract extension worth $26 million.

The All-Pro left tackle, widely considered the best in the NFL, will play out two of the final three years of his current contract, which pays him an average of $2.5 million per year.

The contract will take effect in 2001 and will keep him in Jacksonville through 2004, a source familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The Jaguars would not comment on the signing, but the Florida Times-Union and radio station WBWL in Jacksonville also reported the four-year extension Tuesday.

Boselli will average $6.5 million a year under the new deal, surpassing tackle Lomas Brown as the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. Last month, the Cleveland Browns signed Brown to a contract that averaged out to $4.5 million per year.

The deal secures the player who became the cornerstone of the franchise in 1995, when the Jaguars used their first-ever draft pick to select him.

It also closes a contentious period that began last year when team owner Wayne Weaver, pressed about the possibility of renegotiating Boselli’s contract, promised that he would ``take care″ of his star lineman in the near future.

A whole season passed with no deal and this week’s NFL meetings in Phoenix _ where Jaguars officials met with Boselli’s agent _ were considered a crucial period for the negotiations, with the team’s voluntary offseason workout program set to begin March 23.

With Boselli’s signing, the Jaguars now have the entire core of their offense _ quarterback Mark Brunell, receivers Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, running back Fred Taylor and right tackle Leon Searcy _ in the midst of long-term deals.

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