AP source: Jaguars get Ivory, fail to land Vernon, Sweezy
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars took another step toward rebuilding their defense Wednesday by agreeing to terms with Cleveland Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.
According to a person familiar with the negotiations, Gipson will sign a five-year deal worth up to $35.5 million Thursday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Jaguars aren't announcing free-agent deals until players sign contracts.
Gipson had 207 tackles and 13 interceptions in his last three years in Cleveland. The Jaguars believe he can solidify a struggling secondary that has allowed more big plays than it has made in coach Gus Bradley's three seasons.
The Jaguars also agreed to deals with New York Jets running back Chris Ivory and Carolina Panthers punter Brad Nortman on Wednesday.
Ivory gives the team a bruising runner to complement second-year pro T.J. Yeldon. Ivory ran for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns last season and has 4,031 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns in six seasons.
Nortman averaged 39.8 net yards a punt last season. He replaces Bryan Anger, a third-round pick the Jaguars selected five spots ahead of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in 2012. Nortman changed his verified Twitter account to reflect his new team.
Gipson was the most significant addition of the day. He joins Denver Broncos defensive linemen Malik Jackson in Jacksonville, where the duo is expected to reshape one of the league's worst defenses. The Jaguars agreed to terms with Jackson on Tuesday on a six-year, $90 million deal.
Jacksonville also re-signed tight end Marcedes Lewis to a three-year contract worth $12 million, keeping the team's longest-tenured player on the roster.
''I'm extremely excited to be able to come back home and finish my career in the same place,'' Lewis said. ''That's unheard of. It's a blessing to be able to able to do it.''
The 31-year-old Lewis, a first-round draft pick in 2006, has played in 144 games. He has 329 career receptions for 4,015 yards and 27 touchdowns. Each of those numbers ranks in the top four in franchise history.
After the Jaguars brought in two-time Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas last year, Lewis took a pay cut to stay in Jacksonville and proved to be one of the league's best blocking tight ends. General manager Dave Caldwell rewarded him with a raise and a commitment that could keep him in Jacksonville for the rest of his career.
The bigger news in Jacksonville was that the team failed to sign Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon or Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy. Vernon landed with the New York Giants, and Sweezy agreed to terms with the Buccaneers.
Not getting those guys dampened the mood after the Jaguars made a huge splash with Jackson.
Jacksonville started free agency with about $83 million to spend under the salary cap and still has holes at guard, cornerback and defensive end.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL