Jake Long signs with Dolphins, will be top pick in NFL draft; Seahawks release Alexander | NevadaAppeal.com

Jake Long signs with Dolphins, will be top pick in NFL draft; Seahawks release Alexander

The Associated Press
University of Michigan offensive lineman Jake Long (77) goes up against Eastern Michigan defensive lineman Eric Young during a football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007. If the Miami Dolphins make Long the top selection in the 2008 draft he will be the first offensive lineman, and fifth in league history, to be the No. 1 pick since 1997, when the St. Louis Rams took Ohio State tackle Orlando Pace. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

MIAMI ” The spotlight will be elsewhere Saturday when the NFL draft begins, and that’s fine with the Miami Dolphins and Michigan tackle Jake Long.

“My understanding is St. Louis is on the clock,” said Long’s agent, Tom Condon.

The Dolphins opted to dispense with any on-the-clock drama by signing Long to a five-year contract Tuesday with $30 million guaranteed. They’ll select him with the top pick in the draft Saturday.

“Jake Long was on the top of our board for a long time,” general manager Jeff Ireland said. “We thought it was a very good fit with the Miami Dolphins.”

Both sides were pleased the deal allows them to avoid a possible holdout.

“I’m real glad we got the contract done so I don’t have to worry about any of that,” Long said.

“It’s really important for us to know Jake is going to be on the field for us on time when training camp begins in July,” coach Tony Sparano said. “That was critical.”

Long’s total contract package is for $57.75 million, said a person familiar with the negotiations who didn’t want to be identified because the Dolphins declined to reveal terms. Last year’s top pick, JaMarcus Russell, signed for $61 million with the Oakland Raiders but missed all of training camp before reaching a deal.

Long becomes the highest-paid lineman in the NFL and a 6-foot-7, 315-pound cornerstone in a rebuilding project for the new Miami regime led by Bill Parcells. Last season the Dolphins went 1-15, and the offensive line has been a chronic problem in recent years.

Seahawks cut Alexander in favor of Jones, Duckett

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) ” Just a few years removed from an MVP season and also helping lead the way to a berth in the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks are moving on without Shaun Alexander.

The Seahawks capped their promise to overhaul their running game by granting Alexander his unconditional release Tuesday, hours after doctors cleared his surgically repaired left wrist for spring minicamps.

Alexander, 30, completed just two of the eight years in a $62 million deal he signed in March 2006 ” two seasons of injuries, ineffectiveness and incessant boos.

“This is one of the toughest decisions I’ll ever have to make and be a part of while with an organization. At the same time, you have to make these tough decisions,” Seahawks president Tim Ruskell said.

The move was not unexpected yet was still a thudding end to Alexander’s pinnacle-to-pits demise. It came just over two years after Seattle gave Alexander the big contract in the wake of him becoming the franchise’s only league MVP, setting an NFL record with 28 touchdowns and leading the franchise to its only Super Bowl in 2006.


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