<
>

McAllister to become NFL's second-highest paid RB

NEW ORLEANS -- Deuce McAllister agreed to a seven-year
contract extension with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, a deal
the star running back said will make him one of the NFL's highest
paid players at his position.

ESPN.com's John Clayton reports that McAllister's new deal is eight years, $50.1 million, including $12.5 million in signing and option bonuses. The contract includes $3.1 million in escalators that McAllister can achieve in the third year based on performance to push the total to $53.2 million.

McAllister will make $14.55 million over the first two years of the deal, $18.4 million over the first three, $23.1 million over the first four and $28.2 million over the first five, Clayton reports.

"I basically know that they're putting everything on my
shoulders and I'm big enough that I can carry it," McAllister
said. "I want the pressure. I want the ball because I want to get
us in the playoffs where we haven't been."
The Saints haven't played in the postseason since drafting
McAllister out of Mississippi in the first-round in 2001.
The deal was announced a half-hour before the Saints' first
mandatory meeting of training camp, although McAllister said he
never planned to hold out.
"I wanted to be out here with the guys and I wanted to continue
to prepare," said McAllister, who did hold out his rookie season.
"I didn't want to dampen anything by being a hold out or being
disruptive and basically just messing up the whole flow of what
they've been working on."
Saints officials and McAllister declined to say precisely how
much he would be paid, but the star running back said it would make
him the highest paid player in franchise history and approach the
eight-year, $60 million contract San Diego gave LaDainian
Tomlinson, the NFL's highest-paid back.
"It's obviously a big deal, Deuce deserves that," Saints
general manager Mickey Loomis said. "We believe in him as a leader
on our team. ... We wouldn't trade Deuce for any other running
back."
Jammal Brown, the Saints top pick in this year's draft, did not
show up Thursday night. He became the Saints' sixth top pick in a
row to report late because of a contract holdout. Brown and
fourth-round pick Chase Lyman, who is injured, were the only two
players who did not report.
Entering his fifth season, McAllister has run for 4,194 yards.
Most of that came during the past three seasons. He had only 91
yards rushing his rookie season, when he backed up Ricky Williams.
Williams was traded to Miami after that season, and McAllister has
not run for fewer than 1,000 yards since. He also has been a threat
to catch the ball out of the backfield.
With a revamped offensive line, New Orleans has sought to
simplify its play book and rely more heavily on the run -- a plan
tailored for the 6-foot-1, 232-pound McAllister.
"You thrive on that and I think that helped me in training,
because you know you'll be getting the ball 30-35 times per game,"
McAllister said. "You weren't going into a game wondering whether
you were going to get it 10 or 15 or 20 times. I'm a guy that wants
the ball and I think this offense, this team, is committed to doing
that."
McAllister's teammates have shown an admiration approaching
reverence for the soft-spoken Mississippi native.
"Players around the league -- they like to see players who work
as hard as Deuce and produce like Deuce rewarded," offensive guard
Kendyl Jacox said. "He's going to have a monster year and we want
to get it for him."