Eagles' Westbrook to be paid as 'best running back in football'

Updated: August 8, 2008, 9:52 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PITTSBURGH -- Brian Westbrook and the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a new contract on Friday, hours before the team opened its preseason schedule against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brian Westbrook

Westbrook

ESPN.com's John Clayton reported Westbrook's revised contract will pay him at least $21 million over the next three years, according to a source.

Westbrook, 28, was in the third year of a $25 million, five-year contract he signed in 2005. He was scheduled to earn $3 million this season with a roster bonus of $1.5 million. Instead, the new 52-page contract gives Westbrook a $10 million raise over the next three seasons with $13 million guaranteed over the next two years, the source said.

Technically, the new deal extends Westbrook three additional seasons -- through 2013 -- but the final three years have high base salaries inserted to get around the noncapped years scheduled for 2010 and possibly thereafter. The bulk of the deal is over the next three seasons and makes him among the top-paid running backs in the league.

"I wanted to try to get this thing behind me so I could focus more on the season," Westbrook said at halftime. "I'm glad that [Eagles president] Joe [Banner] worked with my agent very well and they were able to get thing accomplished.

Banner refused to comment on the $13 million in guaranteed money over the first three years of the deal. He did say the contract is the most complex he has ever seen.

"It's a complicated deal," Banner said. "There is extension years, potential voided years and escalators. Everything I've ever seen in a contract is in this deal.

"We're talking about a Hall of Fame-caliber player. This is a premier guy, a leader, a player. He just wants to win so badly, and that is what drove him."

The two-time Pro Bowl running back said early in training camp that he wanted to restructure his contract because he felt underpaid.

That's just how coach Andy Reid described his all-purpose back in a statement announcing the new contract.

"As I've said many times, I believe Brian Westbrook is the best running back in football," Reid said. "He can do it all from that position, whether it's running, catching the football or blocking."

Westbrook was supposed to play about 1½ quarters with the rest of the starters against the Steelers, but Reid decided to keep him on the sideline.

That didn't stop Westbrook from getting grass stains on his uniform, however.

"I was doing a great job of trying to stay clean," Westbrook said. "My guys, my offensive line, came over and showered me with some grass."

Westbrook led the NFL with a franchise-record 2,104 total yards from scrimmage last season. He became the first Eagles player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons since Duce Staley in 1998-99, and led all NFL running backs with a team-record 90 receptions.

Westbrook has 6,768 yards from scrimmage since becoming a full-time starter in 2004, second to only LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers in that time. Westbrook is the only active player with more than 20 touchdowns both rushing and receiving (27 rushing, 23 receiving).

Westbrook is also the NFL's leading running back in receptions (338), receiving yards (3,121) and touchdown catches since 2003.

ESPN.com NFL senior writer John Clayton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.