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Peterson, Jax perfect fit


Mike Peterson is back home in the sunshine and in front of family and friends. He has what he wanted.

Jack Del Rio has a linebacker with speed for the attack-style defense he wants to establish. Del Rio also has what he wanted.

"It's a win-win situation," Peterson told reporters today when it was officially announced by the Jaguars that the team had signed the former Indianapolis Colts and Florida Gators linebacker.

The deal is thought to be worth $21 million over six years, though it is also thought to be structured in a very creative way. But whatever that way is, Peterson clearly becomes one of the foundations on which Del Rio will build his Jaguars defenses of the future.

"We think he's an every-downs player, so we can take advantage of the things he does best," Del Rio said of Peterson, careful not to divulge how Peterson will be used. Most expect he will become the Jaguars' starting weakside linebacker.

"He's a good linebacker who knows how to run and hit. We signed him to be a player to make an impact on the defense," Del Rio added.

Personnel boss James Harris said Peterson is the first major offseason step toward upgrading the roster, which Harris said is the Jaguars' number one priority.

"When we started this process, we said we wanted to add some speed to the defense. Mike had been targeted all along," Harris said.

At 6-1, 234, Peterson is a smallish linebacker who makes up for his lack of size with speed and aggressiveness. The 26-year-old linebacker led the Colts in tackles last season, and added three interceptions, but failed to record a sack or a forced fumble.

"I don't know what the problem was. (Blitzing) wasn't my trademark coming (out of college), so I guess they felt I couldn't blitz," Peterson said.

"I'm at the peak of my game. My weight is up, my strength is up and I'm ready to be a great football player," he added.

Peterson's family lives in Gainesville and he said they immediately began buying Jaguars merchandise when he agreed to the contract.

"This was a good move for us at this time. We got one of the better linebackers in the league. The speed and what Jack and the defense want to do is very important in our plans," Harris said.

"Add better players and create competition. Those are the ways you upgrade the roster. We're trying to update the roster wherever we can. That's our number one priority," Harris added.

Del Rio acknowledged that the team is interested in unrestricted free agent quarterback Charlie Batch as a backup to Mark Brunell. "Having a veteran would add comfort," Del Rio said.

And the coach added, "We have some guys we have our eyes on. We will be bring in some more (free agents) for visits."

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