Cardinals agree to six-year, $62M deal with No. 5 pick Brown

The Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night reached agreement with first-round draft pick Levi Brown, the offensive tackle from Penn State, on a six-year contract, ESPN.com has confirmed.

The contract, negotiated by agent Joel Segal, has a maximum value of $62 million. That is believed to be the most lucrative contract in NFL history for an offensive lineman, although Brown is unlikely to max out the deal by reaching all the incentives.

"Levi is looking forward to joining the Cardinals coaches and players at practice tomorrow," Segal said. "The Cardinals stepped up and made this deal happen."

Brown, 23, was the fifth player chosen overall and the second offensive tackle. The accord leaves five first-round choices unsigned. The group includes the top pick, quarterback JaMarcus Russell of Oakland. Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the No. 2 pick, agreed to terms on a six-year contract early Friday.

Segal said Brown was en route to Phoenix on Thursday night from his home in Virginia. Brown was scheduled to take a physical Friday before signing his contract and then join the Cardinals at training camp on the Northern Arizona University campus.

"We were a bit frustrated by the amount of time it took and didn't think it had to take this long," Arizona general manager Rod Graves said. "...The proposal that we agreed upon today was
not far from where we've been the last week or so."

A four-year starter for the Nittany Lions, with 44 of his 45 starts at left tackle, Brown is expected to challenge veteran Oliver Ross for the starting job at right tackle. That is a key position in the Arizona offense, since quarterback Matt Leinart is left-handed, and the right tackle is responsible for primary pass protection duties.

Brown spent much of the spring working on the right side and, according to the Cardinals' coaches, seemed to make a good transition. Having missed the first five days of camp, he will have to catch up quickly under the tutelage of line coach Russ Grimm to still have a chance to start on opening day.

Although he arrived at Penn State as a defensive tackle, Brown was moved to the offensive side early in his first camp. He is blessed with a big upper frame and his size (6-feet-5½, 323 pounds) allowed him to engulf opponents at the college level. Brown has long arms and big hands and, while his 40-time (5.40) is not impressive, he moves his feet very well in pass protection situations.

He will have to work on not setting up so high, and losing leverage, when pass blocking.

In his final two years, according to Penn State coaches, 60 percent of the team's rushing yards came in part as a result of his blocks.

Brown was the second offensive lineman chosen in the draft. Cleveland selected tackle Joe Thomas as the third pick overall. Thomas has signed a five-year deal reportedly worth $42.5 million, with $22-23 million guaranteed.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.