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Favors fits at 'Sam'


The Jaguars appear to be set at linebacker, following Monday night's signing of unrestricted free agent Greg Favors from the Carolina Panthers. Favors agreed to a three-year deal that includes a $750,000 signing bonus.

Favors would seem to fit into the Jaguars' starting lineup at strong-side linebacker, from where the team lost last year's starter, Danny Clark, in free agency. Favors, 6-1, 244, will be in his seventh pro season. He was drafted in the fourth round by Kansas City in 1998, played three seasons in Tennessee and was with the Colts and Bills in 2002 before joining Carolina in free agency last spring.

"The thing he brings most is experience," Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith said of Favors. "He's played in two Super Bowls and started in two Super Bowls. Though he only spent one season in Carolina, there are a lot of similarities in what we do and what they do."

Favors was a salary cap casualty in Tennessee. He signed on with the Colts, but was inactive for the first eight games of the season before being released. Favors finished a disappointing '02 season covering kicks for the Bills.

His career was resurrected last season, when Favors replaced Mark Fields at strong-side linebacker after Fields had been diagnosed with Hodgkins just prior to the start of the season.

"He'll be competing for the 'Sam' linebacker position. That's what he played in Carolina," Smith said of Favors, who will be 30 years old next September.

Favors' strength is pass-coverage. He's considered an every-downs linebacker, but free-agent addition Tommy Hendricks' strength is run-support and Favors and Hendricks could be used to complement each other.

Mike Peterson and Akin Ayodele are the incumbents at middle linebacker and at the weak-side position, and it's likely the Jaguars will draft a linebacker from what appears to be a deep crop at the position this year.

The Jaguars have signed eight unrestricted free agents since the March 3 start of free agency. Those players are: Favors, Hendricks, tight end Todd Yoder, offensive linemen Mike Compton and Sammy Williams, cornerbacks Lewis Sanders and Dewayne Washington, and safety Deon Grant. Kicker Jeff Chandler was signed as a street free agent.

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