Falcons sign first-round draft pick Anderson

Updated: July 26, 2007, 12:31 AM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Eager to grab some positive headlines in what has been a summer of Michael Vick negativity, the Falcons made sure they signed first-round pick Jamaal Anderson in time for the start of training camp.

Anderson agreed late Thursday night to a five-year deal that could max out at $31 million. He will receive $15.361 million in guarantees, but the big thing for Anderson and the Falcons was incentives for the defensive end to do what he does best -- sack the quarterback.

If Anderson can register 30 sacks in his first three years, he can hit a $5 million escalator. If that doesn't work, he could hit the escalator if he has 40 sacks in four years. But those aren't the only huge incentives in the contract. Based on his performance, Anderson could hit base salary escalators in his fourth and fifth years.

The deal is reportedly 13.4 percent better that the eighth pick in last year's draft.

Anderson, who was in Houston when both sides reached agreement, was being flown to Falcons camp in order to be present for the team's first day of training camp.

Talks between the Falcons and his agent, Gary Wichard, moved quickly because the team didn't want another problem and a first-round holdout would have been another unneeded story. From the Vick dogfighting indictment to the loss of halfback Warrick Dunn for at least three weeks because of back surgery, the Falcons wanted some positive news.

Anderson provided that with his agreement.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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