Gholston's contract with Jets includes $21M in guaranteed money

Updated: July 25, 2008, 2:21 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

The New York Jets have reached a five-year contract agreement with first-round draft pick Vernon Gholston that includes $21 million in guarantees, culminating negotiations that continued into the early morning hours.

The linebacker's deal could max out at $50 million if he reaches all of his performance clauses. If the No. 6 pick does not, the deal would still be worth $32.5 million.

"Vernon is in the building," coach Eric Mangini said. "He signed, he'll practice, so that process -- which was long -- is through and now he can move forward and we can get him on the field and really start the intense teaching."

Negotiations lasted until 4:30 a.m. ET on Friday morning. Once a deal was agreed to, Gholston went to the Jets' offices to sign the contract in order to be on the practice field later in the day.

"A contract like his, you might have to triple check or quadruple check," Mangini said with a smile.

Five of the draft's first six picks are now under contract. That includes offensive tackle Ryan Clady's five-year, $14.75 million deal with the Denver Broncos that could max out at $17.3 million. The deal includes $11.415 million in guarantees.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer