At 5-foot-11, Mike Patterson didn't tower over other top defensive tackles available in the 2005 draft, but now he can say he towers over his draft class financially.
In a rare move, Patterson agreed to a contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles 24 games into his NFL career. The Eagles extended their 2005 first-round choice by rewarding him with a seven-year, $32 million extension that could be worth $37 million based on incentives and escalators.
"If anything, I was thinking later on in the summer," Patterson told The Associated Press. "It kind of threw me off at first."
The key to the deal, though, was $9 million in guarantees.
What makes this contract unique is that he's only 24 games into his rookie contract. In July 2005, Patterson signed a five-year, $6.625 million contract that included $3.825 million in guarantees. By signing this extension, Patterson locked himself into $12.825 million in guarantees before his third year.
The extension will keep him with the Eagles through the 2016 season.
Steve Feldman and Josh Luchs of Gersh Sports negotiated the extension but declined to comment.
"It was pleasure dealing with the Eagles on this contract," Luchs said. "They were fair and reasonable. They were very motivated to get something done, and so everybody is a winner."
Patterson joins guard Shawn Andrews, cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown and other top draft choices in recent years to receive extensions before their rookie contracts expire. But the Patterson deal was one of the earliest, coming in the middle of his second year.
Patterson was the 31st player taken in the 2005 draft and established himself early as an important part of the Eagles' defense. He started seven games as a rookie and played 62 percent of the defensive snaps.
The former USC Trojan was part of Andy Reid's recent emphasis to upgrade the defensive line. They used a first-round choice this year on Brodrick Bunkley to help out at tackle, and they signed Darren Howard at defensive end.
After seeing what Patterson could do on the field, the Eagles wasted no time in deciding to lock him up through the 2016 season.
Patterson had 44 tackles and 3½ sacks as a rookie. This season, he has started in all eight games and has 28 tackles, 1½
sacks and recovered two fumbles -- one he returned 98 yards for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers.
They presented an offer and it was a good one," he told the AP. "I thought this was the best thing for me to do."
The Eagles' historically good performances under coach Andy Reid gave Patterson the confidence to sign a long-term deal with the team.
"Everybody that's been here for a long time that I've talked to, they've been happy," Patterson said.
Patterson broke his left hand in last week's 13-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and underwent surgery earlier this week but doesn't expect to miss any time.
The Eagles are off this week and return from the bye to host the Washington Redskins on Nov. 12.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.