Mathis' new deal includes nearly $10M in bonuses

Updated: August 23, 2005, 3:31 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Third-year veteran Rashean Mathis, who has emerged as one of the NFL's top young cornerbacks, has signed a five-year contract extension through the 2011 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Mathis, who will turn 25 on Saturday, will earn $25.5 million on the extension, including nearly $10 million in bonuses. The former Bethune-Cookman star has two seasons left on the original four-year, $3.17 million contract that he signed as a rookie, at base salaries of $380,000 for 2005 and $460,000 for 2006.

A starter in all 32 games during his first two seasons in the league, Mathis is the third young defensive star extended by the Jaguars in the offseason. The club signed tackle Marcus Stroud, a two-time Pro Bowl performer, and strong safety Donovin Darius to pricey extensions this spring.

A second-round selection in the 2003 draft, and the 39th player chosen overall that year, Mathis is a big, physical cornerback with great coverage skills, the kind of player who should be the cornerstone of the Jacksonville secondary for many seasons.

Along with safeties Darius and Deon Grant, he provides Jacksonville one of the best young secondaries in the league. Several players are still competing for the starting job at right cornerback.

Mathis split time between safety and cornerback as a rookie before settling in at the latter position over the second half of the campaign. At 6-feet-1, 195 pounds, he is big enough to redirect wide receivers but also has natural ballhawking skills, as evidenced by the 31 interceptions he recorded in college.

In two NFL seasons, and 32 starts, Mathis has 162 tackles, seven interceptions. He had five interceptions in 2004.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.