After quarterback Jake Delhomme led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl in February, team officials said they intended to negotiate a lucrative contract extension with him. Yesterday they made good on that pledge. Delhomme was signed to a five-year extension worth about $38 million, including $12 million in bonus money.
Delhomme, 29, had one season remaining on the two-year, $4 million deal that he signed with Carolina as a free agent last offseason, calling for a salary of $1.37 million for the upcoming season.
"They came to me and said, 'We're going to try to do this and that,' " Delhomme told reporters at the Panthers' training facility as the club wrapped up its offseason practices. "I had a smile on my face. I said, 'That sounds great. Let's get something done.'"
Delhomme threw for 3,219 yards and 19 touchdowns during the regular season, and passed for 323 yards and three touchdowns in Carolina's 32-29 loss to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Elsewhere, the Patriots signed inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi to a three-year extension that includes a $3.5 million signing bonus. Bruschi, 31, had one season remaining on his contract and, with the extension, will earn $8.1 million over the next four seasons. He represented himself in negotiations.
As Arizona completed its offseason practices, Cardinals Coach Dennis Green put NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith atop the depth chart as the starting tailback, ahead of Marcel Shipp. Smith, 35, lost the starting job to Shipp during an injury-filled season in which he rushed for only 256 yards, and has said he would accept being the backup.
-- Mark Maske