April 11, 2002

Saints Sign DT Grady Jackson to Two-Year Contract

A day after agreeing to terms with one of the top receivers left on the free agent market, Saints GM Randy Mueller continued the shopping spree by signing heavyweight defensive tackle Grady Jackson, an ex-Oakland Raider.

Jackson signed a two-year, $3.275 million contract with the Saints that included $750,000 signing bonus.

Jackson, who has been drawing heavy attention from several other NFL teams, already turned down a one-year offer from the New York Jets that was close to $1 million. The native of Greensboro, Alabama also drew interest from the Vikings, Chiefs, Packers and Bills. The Raiders also made a push to re-sign their starter. The Packers were heavily involved in bidding for Jackson's services, and the Saints came out on top in some heavy bidding for his services. The Saints also beat out the Vikings for the second time in less than 24 hours, first on WR Jerome Pathon.

At 6'2, 325, Jackson gives the Saints a third "big man" in the middle of the defensive line. Norman Hand and Martin Chase each play at or around 315 pounds. Jackson, entering his sixth season in the league, has spent all five of his years in Oakland, racking up 19 sacks, and 32 starts. Jackson has developed well after being a 6th round draft pick in 1997 and appearing in only five games as a rookie.

He is expected to compete with Chase for the starting spot in the rotation. Chase played last year behind Hand and La'Roi Glover (now with the Cowboys), coming in regularly to provide fresh legs to the defensive line.

Jackson, 29, does have some injury concern, as he is suffering from what may be a chronic shoulder problem. After surgery last offseason, Jackson periodically missed practice but played in all 16 of the Raiders' regular season games and both of their playoff games.

Jackson didn't get much attention early in the offseason when his salary demands were high. After coming down on his expectations, interest in Jackson rose around the league and he was considered one of the top free agent defensive lineman still available.

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