DT Dockett signs 4-year, $48 million extension
Darnell Dockett finally has the contract he feels he
The Arizona Cardinals announced on Wednesday that they have
signed the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle to a four-year
extension worth up to $48 million with $30 million guaranteed.
Dockett had two years left on his previous contract, so the new
deal runs through the 2015 season. A third-round draft pick out of
Florida State in 2004, Dockett has developed into one of the best
at his position entering his seventh NFL season as the
high-spirited leader of the Arizona defense.
”We are very fortunate to have a player of Darnell’s ability,”
general manager Rod Graves said, ”and I think even more so his
passion for the game.”
Dockett has 26 career sacks, 20 in the last three seasons. His
seven sacks last year were the most for an NFL defensive tackle.
His three sacks against the Pittsburgh Steelers two seasons ago
tied Reggie White’s Super Bowl record.
Dockett has started all but one game since coming to the NFL and
enters the season with 81 consecutive starts.
The extension follows a change in Dockett’s approach to the
contract issue. As long as two years ago, he has made it clear he
believed he deserved a bigger contract. Last year, he sat out
minicamp with a so-called sore hamstring. But he was there on time
for the 2009 training camp and has not missed any workouts since,
leaving the contract issues to agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Not that Dockett’s free spirit still doesn’t get the best of him
at times. This summer, he made an ill-advised streaming Internet
video taking a shower to win a bit, but promptly made a public
”The thing that has really made it so apparent that we wanted
to get this deal done was his growth as a player and as a person,”
coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ”Where he sits right now in front of
you guys, after having a couple of Pro Bowls, after how he works
with our team, it’s a little bit different than he was almost four
years ago when we started this thing.”
Eleven days before Arizona’s season opener, he sat at a news
conference on Wednesday to announce his new contract, Graves on one
side, Whisenhunt on the other.
”I know a lot of people probably thought I wasn’t going to come
to training camp,” Dockett said. ”I made a commitment to players
that I was going to be there, like Joey Porter. I told him I would
be there and I didn’t want to let him down. Once I put my helmet on
and shoulder pads, I can honestly tell you I really didn’t think
about contract. I just focused on football and believed they could
get it done.”
For the quick, punishing 6-foot-4, 290-pound tackle, the new
deal is a rich testament to his ability to overcome some horrific
As a 13-year-old in Decatur, Ga., he came home one day to find
his mother killed by a gun shot to the head. He moved in with his
father, who just a few months later died of pancreatic cancer. His
uncle Kevin Dockett took the boy in and provided him the foundation
to eventually succeed.
”The biggest thing for me and my life and my situation is for
young people to understand that anything’s possible,” Dockett
said. ”I’m living proof. I don’t do things for a pat on the back
or things like that. I just want people to understand that things
are possible. All you’ve got to do is make the right decisions and
keep playing and stay focused.”
Over the last three seasons, his 20 sacks are more than fellow
defensive tackles Albert Haynesworth (17.5), Kevin Williams (17.5)
and Tommie Harris (15.5). Dockett said he feels the new contract
pays him what he deserves compared with others at his position.
”I did a lot of research, a lot of thought about it and it’s
good for me,” he said. ”I’m very happy.”
The news conference was packed with television crews and
reporters, a big turnout that could be attributed to the fact that
many assumed it had something to do with quarterback Matt Leinart,
who reportedly is a candidate to be traded or released.
Whisenhunt was amused.
”I have to admit I was kind of tickled,” he said.