Jags say they have deal; Alualu's agent says not yet
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)
The Jacksonville Jaguars believe they have an agreement for a contract 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 agent Kenneth Zuckerman told The Associated Press the proposed deal had not 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 red-eye flight from Hawaii and be at training camp Monday night.
But Zuckerman made it clear Alualu had not accepted the offer. Zuckerman, however, said he suggested that Alualu accept the offer.
Jacksonville selected Alualu with the 10th pick in April's draft, hoping the 304-pound lineman will bolster a defense that had a league-worst 14 sacks last season.
Alualu is expected to take over the starting job two-time Pro Bowler John Henderson occupied the past eight seasons. Jacksonville parted ways with Henderson, as well as fellow veteran defensive linemen Rob Meier and Reggie Hayward, in the offseason.
Alualu missed five practices, 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,'' Jaguars general manager Gene 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 tomorrow.''
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 player Terrance Knighton -- 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 him. But Smith said 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 is married with two children. He has a nonstop motor, a 35-inch vertical leap 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).''