- John Clayton, NFL senior writer
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The Chiefs' star running back reached a new four-year contract extension that will increase his average salary to more than $5 million a year and give him a signing and option bonus of around $10 million.
Holmes had threatened to walk out from Sunday's opener against the Chargers had an agreement not been reached by then, but intensive negotiations between Chiefs president Carl Peterson and Holmes' agent, Todd France, concluded Wednesday afternoon with a new deal hammered out.
The signing bonus is the most the Chiefs have ever given to a running back, and it is believed to be the second most ever given to a Chief.
Complete details of the contract were not available because of a confidentiality clause in the contract. Holmes, 29, has rushed for 3,170 yards over the past two seasons for the Chiefs and has bounced back from offseason hip surgery.
"Priest has been called the Poor Man's Marshall Faulk, but he can't be called a poor man anymore," France said. "I know ESPN the Magazine listed him as the second most underpaid athlete behind Albert Pujols of the Cardinals. Now, he's being paid among the elite running backs in football."
France flew into Kansas City on Wednesday morning to finish the deal, but the bulk of the deal was agreed upon during a very busy Labor Day weekend between Peterson and France. Holmes was in the third year of a five-year contract that paid him $2.2 million this season.
This opened as a tough negotiation because he was signed through 2005, and he turns 30 this season, a tough age for teams to give huge guarantees.
After last season, Peterson said he wanted to reward Holmes with a new contract, but problems with Holmes hip held back negotiations. Holmes had a deep bone bruise that was considered minor. An arthroscopic procedure removed some loose debris from the hip.
Holmes rehabbed and trained at the Chiefs facility throughout the offseason and reported to training camp on time. That show of good faith along with Holmes' full recovery convinced the Chiefs to try to finalize a deal before the opener.
"Priest wants to thank Carl and the Chiefs for being so good to deal with," France said. "They didn't have to do anything. He had three years left on his contract, so they didn't have to technically do anything. We spent a lot of long hours over the past week trying to get a deal done because we did have a deadline for Sunday."
For Holmes, it has been a long climb since being an undrafted free agent from Marshall. He gained 1,008 yards for the Ravens in his second season but eventually was replaced by Jamal Lewis. In 2001, he signed with the Chiefs.
"Now, Priest will be able to retire as a Chiefs with this contract," France said.
Chiefs star running back Priest Holmes reached a new four-year contract extension Wednesday that will increase his average salary to more than $5 million a year and give him a signing and option bonus of around $10 million.