MIAMI Maurice Jones-Drew became one of the NFL's highest paid running backs on Wednesday after signing a long-term contract extension with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Terms were not disclosed but the Jacksonville Times-Union reported the deal to be for five-years and $31 million, including $17.5 million guaranteed.
Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio is expected to build the Jaguars offense around the powerful 5-foot, 7-inch running back, who led the team in rushing last season with 824 yards and 12 touchdowns and ranked second in receptions with 62.
"It's an opportunity to reward one of our own," said Jaguars general manager Gene Smith on the team website (www.jaguars.com). "Maurice is someone I'd like to have as a son.
"The leadership qualities he has are well-respected by his team mates.
"When you have a guy like Maurice being your feature back of the future, it's a feeling of comfort."
Taken in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft, Drew-Jones had shared rushing duties with veteran Fred Taylor but will be Jacksonville's featured back next season after the Jaguars all-time leading rusher was released and signed with the New England.
"We're excited about getting him the ball more often," said Del Rio. "He's our guy."
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Detroit; Editing by Justin Palmer)