Staying with the Pack
CB McKenzie reportedly signs five-year extensionPosted: Saturday January 12, 2002 12:54 AM
Neither McKenzie's agent nor the Packers' chief negotiator returned phone calls to The Associated Press seeking confirmation of the deal.
According to the report, McKenzie will receive a $3.5 million signing bonus and a first-year base salary of $450,000, giving him a cap figure of $1.2 million next season.
McKenzie, in his third year out of Memphis, had a breakout 2001 season a year after two knee injuries limited him to eight starts and one interception following a standout rookie season in which he picked off six passes.
Neither his agent, Scott Crawford, of Memphis, nor Andrew Brandt, the Packers' director of player finance, immediately returned phone calls. Coach Mike Sherman also didn't return a message left at his office, and a team spokesman said he could neither confirm nor deny the report.
McKenzie didn't have as much leverage as McQuarters because he was still a year away from unrestricted free agency.
McKenzie's deal is similar to the five-year, $20 million contract fellow cornerback Tyrone Williams signed in Green Bay in 1999. Williams also received a $3.5 million bonus.
McKenzie started all 16 games at left cornerback and had a career-high 70 tackles and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown to seal the Packers' 24-13 victory over Minnesota two weeks ago. He also knocked down 21 passes.
The third of three cornerbacks former general manager Ron Wolf drafted with his first three picks in 1999, McKenzie is the only one to have panned out.
'I thought he had a heck of a year,' Wolf said. 'I was surprised watching television and Troy Aikman said in the games he does with the Packers that's a guy everybody's trying to work on. I don't quite understand that. I thought he should be in the Pro Bowl with the year that he had.'
Those players are considered a priority over the four starters who can become unrestricted free agents after the season: fullback William Henderson, receiver Bill Schroeder, left guard Mike Wahle and nose tackle Gilbert Brown.