Quarterback David Garrard probably could have gotten the Jacksonville Jaguars to pay him more money. But he was tired of negotiating.
So Garrard ended the contract process Monday, signing a seven-year, $60 million contract that is the richest in franchise history.
"I pretty much had to say, 'Let's go ahead and wrap it up. I'm done,'" Garrard said. "It's too much stress on me and my family. My wife was done five weeks ago. She's already been on board with everything. We just kept working on it and I finally just said, 'You know what, I'd rather be happy now, have the city happy now, have the team, the organization, the owner happy now than trying to string something out having everybody on edge."
Garrard and his agent, Albert Irby, had been seeking something similar to the six-year, $67.5 million contract Dallas quarterback Tony Romo signed last season.
But Garrard settled for the latest offer because he "felt like it was time."
"I've just seen it too many times," he said. "I just didn't want to go through it myself. There's way too many things that can happen to you between here and now and when you're trying to get this done and that done. Is it really worth it? I just said, 'It's time to make everybody happy because I was already happy.'"
A career backup who beat out Byron Leftwich last preseason, Garrard was entering the final year of a four-year deal that paid about $2 million annually.
The Jaguars were eager to get him under contract after his first season as a starter.
The 30-year-old Garrard completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,509 yards and 18 touchdowns despite missing three games because of an ankle injury. He threw just three interceptions and finished with the NFL's third-highest passer rating (102.2), proving coach Jack Del Rio made the right move when he announced his quarterback decision a week before the season opener.
"When you look at what transpired and how David responded, I think that's what's most impressive," Del Rio said. "A lot of people may have gotten down, gotten down on themselves, gotten bitter at me for the decision. Any number of things could have taken place that would have led to a different outcome.
"What you see is a young man that persevered, ultimately a coach that saw something, took a shot with him, and now we're together here for the foreseeable future here in Jacksonville, and tied together and hungry for more."
The Jaguars expect Garrard to be even better this season, with the addition of receivers Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson and another year in Dirk Koetter's offense.
"To have David lead this team for the next seven years, it really gives us the stability and the continuity that we need to compete at the highest level and bring a championship to Jacksonville and hopefully multiple championships," owner Wayne Weaver said. "David has earned this."
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