NFL sacks leader Elvis Dumervil agrees to long-term extension with Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos fans can relax. Not so opposing quarterbacks: NFL sacks leader Elvis Dumervil has at long last agreed to a long-term extension.

Dumervil thrived last season in the Broncos' new defensive alignment that turned him from a classic 4-3 defensive end into a 3-4 linebacker. He responded with an NFL-leading and team-record 17 sacks, a starting spot in the Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.

Only two players have more sacks than Dumervil's 43 since entering the league as a fourth-round draft pick in 2006 out of Louisville — Dallas' DeMarcus Ware (56 1/2) and Minnesota's Jared Allen (52).

Both of them have cashed in with big contracts that contain large guarantees, $40 million for Ware and $31 million for Allen.

ESPN reported that Dumervil's deal was worth $61 million over six seasons with between $41 million and $43 million guaranteed.

The last player the Broncos committed that much money to was cornerback Champ Bailey, who is entering the final season of his six-year, $63 million contract that will pay him $13 million in 2010.

Bailey's future in Denver has been almost as big a topic among Broncos' fans this summer as Dumervil's contract talks.

Rather than hold out or issue ultimatums, Dumervil signed his one-year, $3.168 million restricted free agent tender this summer, bit his lip and participated in the team's offseason camps while his agent, Gary Wichard, and the Broncos hammered out an extension.

That goodwill paid off in a big way Thursday night.

In an e-mail from the Broncos announcing the long-awaited deal, coach Josh McDaniels praised Dumervil's handling of the protracted contract talks this offseason, which he said showed he's "the type of player and person we want on our team. We look forward to Elvis' impact for many years to come."