Mark Brunell told jaguars.com today his agent, Leigh Steinberg, has begun negotiations with the Jaguars to re-structure the quarterback's contract, and Brunell couldn't be happier.
"I'll add eight years," Brunell said with a laugh. "Right now, I think it's potentially 2-3 years."
Brunell has repeatedly expressed his desire to remain with the Jaguars. Late last season, when it was thought the Jaguars might turn to David Garrard in 2003, Brunell was adamant about staying in Jacksonville.
Now, it appears that will happen.
"I would say that. Whether we re-structure or not will determine whether I'm here. I have no reason to believe it won't work out," Brunell said.
Brunell has two years remaining on his contract. He's scheduled to earn $6.75 million in salary this year, which would make him an $8.75 million salary cap hit. Because Brunell only has $4 million in remaining amortization, his contract provides a lot of flexibility for re-structuring. If the Jaguars are able to reach a quick agreement with Brunell, the cap savings would allow the team to throw some money around in free agency.
"I've been given the guarantee that they want me to be here, but I've got a big (cap) number. My number is $8.75 (million). I have to re-structure. I'm willing to do that," Brunell said.
"If I do a re-structure, there doesn't have to be a feel this or feel that," he added of speculation about his future. "It's a done deal."
All indications are the deal will get done. Talks began about two weeks ago and during that time Brunell has spent time talking with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave about his "West Coast offense."
"I've always liked it," Brunell said of the "West Coast offense," which he learned during his first two years in the NFL while with Green Bay. "I'm looking forward to it. From what I've seen of it up to this point, I'm thrilled.
"It takes a smart guy to run it. You need to be accurate, you need to have good feet, you've got to be athletic and you've got to be willing to work hard and study," Brunell added.
The change in offensive philosophy is just one reason for the excitement the new era in Jaguars football has created.
"I can see it's different," Brunell said of the atmosphere at Alltel Stadium. "The fact is there's been a change. We're re-doing the weight room; the coaches' offices are being changed. It's just excitement for change.
"There'll be a relationship between the players and coaches that we've wanted, but that'll go so far. I'm excited. I'm the same as everybody else," Brunell added.
He has been the team's official starting quarterback since the sixth game of the team's inaugural season, 1995, and it appears he will remain in that capacity. And that would answer the most asked question of the offseason to date, which would lead to the most asked question of the remainder of the offseason: Will 2003 be a rebuilding year?
"I don't necessarily believe with a new coach we're rebuilding. I expect us to win and I expect us to win right away," Brunell said.