FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- About two weeks ago, when the Darrelle Revis talks had deteriorated into a mudslinging contest between the New York Jets and Revis' agents, the Jets decided to shift their negotiating focus to center Nick Mangold.
At that point, Mangold had given up hope for a long-term contract extension this season. But he was summoned to a meeting with owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum and, according to Mangold, they said, "Hey, we'd like to get something done with you."
Consider it done.
At 3:30 Tuesday, Mangold signed a seven-year, $55 million contract, making him the highest-paid center in the NFL based on average salary per year. He eclipsed the $7.5 million-a-year average set last season by Jason Brown of the St. Louis Rams.
"It came out of nowhere, it went by really fast and here we are," Mangold said moments after signing the deal. "It'll take a couple of days to sink in."
Mangold said becoming the highest-paid center "wasn't a sticking point" in the negotiations.
The contract includes $22.5 million in guarantees against injury. Only the $4 million signing bonus is fully guaranteed. He can earn $25 million over the first three years, according to league sources.
Mangold, 26, was entering the final year of his rookie contract, and was due to earn $3.3 million this season.
Because of restrictive rules in the CBA for an uncapped season, and because the team seemingly had prioritized Revis, Mangold had "resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't getting done." He was outspoken before training camp, expressing frustration over the lack of dialogue between the two sides, but he decided against holding out. That, no doubt, scored points with management.
"I could not be more excited to have it done and be here as long as I could imagine," said Mangold, a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
Mangold didn't practice Tuesday because of the looming contract, but, no, this wasn't a "sit-out," a la Revis. As a precaution, coach Rex Ryan told Mangold to sit out, lest he suffer an injury before putting pen to paper.
"I didn't want him to step in a hole," Ryan said.
Said Mangold: "I'd shoot myself if something happened."
It's interesting that the Mangold talks heated up as soon as the Revis negotiations reached their ugly point. Shortly afterward, the Jets and Revis' agents issued a joint statement, saying they would make nice and keep discussions confidential.
The Mangold deal casts the Jets in a more favorable light with regard to Revis. In a span of seven weeks, they've locked up two of their so-called "Core Four" -- Mangold and left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson (six-year, $60 million extension). The fourth is linebacker David Harris, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Both sides have acknowledged that an extension probably won't happen until after the season, if then.
The big prize is Revis, who is refusing to report to camp until he receives a new contract. Mangold said he's not planning to reach out to his teammate.
"It's not my place to talk to him or give him advice," Mangold said. "He's making decisions for himself. As a player, you respect what he thinks is best."