Warrick agrees to $42M deal

By GEOFF HOBSON

One of the biggest deals in Bengals' history went down during a neighborly Sunday morning get-together when first-round draft pick Peter Warrick agreed to a seven-year, $42 million deal. One of Warrick's agents, Jim Gould said today the seventh year voids if Warrick plays 45 percent of the downs in any previous season.

Gould said Warrick will get more than ten million dollars in signing and reporting bonuses this year. If Warrick hits all his escalator clauses the contract maxes out at $42 million.

"Everyone in the room is counting on him making the full $42 million," Gould said. "it's very doable. We hit a big time snag Friday night. We were all down. But we got through the language and the structure. We had agreed on the numbers early Friday."

Warrick, the elusive wide receiver from Florida State taken with the fourth pick in the NFL Draft, is expected to sign the deal tonight at the home Bengals' executive vice president Katie Blackburn before appearing at a Monday morning press conference.

The four-day negotiations ended around noon today when Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn met agent Jim Gould at her Indian Hill home. They live near each other and were able to put the finishing touches on a negotiation that began in Thursday's face-to-face meeting at the Bengals' offices that included Gould's partner, Norm Nixon.

Gould's relationship with the Brown family that stretches back 20 years helped seal the club's quickest deal with a first-rounder since Dan Wilkinson signed his seven-year, $14.4 million contract in May of 1994. Gould lives in Cincinnati and represented Wilkinson when the Bengals traded him to the Redskins. He's also the agent for Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn.

"There's no reason this can't get done," Gould reiterated during the weekend. "It's best for Peter, it's best for the Bengals and their new stadium and it's best for the city of Cincinnati."

Warrick, who is also a dangerous punt returner, was the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy until he was charged with petty theft last fall. He isn't supposed to start working out with the Bengals until June 12 so he can continue to chip away at the 30 days of community service he owes from the incident.

His agents expect him to complete the commitment before training camp starts July 21. Although Warrick, Wilkinson and James Francis are the only No. 1 picks to report for the beginning of Bengals' camp in the last decade, it marks the fifth time in seven years a No. 1 pick won't miss more than two training-camp practices.

"Peter's an exciting player who can turn around a game in one play," Blackburn said this weekend. "It's important for him and it's important for us to get him signed and work with the rest of the offense. Norm and Jimmy have been very committed to that all along."

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