AP source: Jags' Linder now among NFL's highest-paid centers



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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars have made Brandon Linder one of the NFL's highest-paid centers.

Linder signed a five-year contract extension worth a little more than $50 million Tuesday, according to a person familiar with negotiations. The deal came on the eve of the Jaguars reporting for training camp.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Jaguars do not disclose contract details.

"Brandon has proven on the field that he is capable of highly productive performances, and this is a high-performance business," said Tom Coughlin, the team's executive vice president of football operations.

"We look for his continued leadership development as an anchor of our offensive line. Brandon has earned this new contract and the high expectations that go with it."

Linder's $10 million average salary is the most of any center in the league, and the deal includes more than $20 million guaranteed. NFL Network reported the guaranteed money at $24 million. Atlanta's Alex Mack and Dallas' Travis Frederick are the only NFL centers with more guaranteed money.

Linder, a third-round draft pick from Miami in 2014, has started 31 games in three seasons. He missed two games because of knee and ankle injuries last season. He also sat out one game as a rookie and missed 13 in 2015 because of a shoulder injury. He made the switch from guard to center in 2016, and the Jaguars clearly believe he's capable of playing at an All-Pro level.

"It means the world to me," Linder said. "I'd love to play here my whole career. I fell in love with this city, and we have big things coming — changing the culture. ... I couldn't think of a better place to play my career."

Linder is the first draft pick to re-sign with Jacksonville during general manager Dave Caldwell's four-year tenure. Receiver Allen Robinson and linebacker Telvin Smith are expected to be next in line for extensions.

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MARK LONG

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