QB Pennington Signs With Jets

Thursday, July 13th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — Chad Pennington, the first quarterback chosen in the NFL draft, has agreed to a five-year contract with the New York Jets.

Pennington, the 18th overall selection and the third of New York's unprecedented four first-round picks, will get a $4.1 million signing bonus and a contract loaded with incentives. If he meets all of those incentives, he could earn as much as $23 million.

He signed the contract Thursday as Jets rookies reported to training camp. The veterans report Friday.

The base contract is worth nearly $6.5 million. But in addition to the signing bonus, other bonuses within the contract are predicated on playing time, and Pennington's success could earn him another $16 million over the life of the deal.

``Chad's a winner. He won two championships in his league (at Marshall) and then two years in a row in bowl games in which they played against supposedly the strongest competition,'' coach Al Groh said. ``I know his college coach very well. I know how Chad operates on a day-to-day and hour-to-hour basis.

``Then secondly to that, he reminds me in a lot of ways of Phil Simms, and in my point of reference, he's a pretty good guy to be reminded of.''

With Pennington's signing, the Jets will have no holdouts. Earlier this week, they signed defensive end Shaun Ellis and linebacker John Abraham, the 12th and 13th overall selections.

Ellis, of Tennessee, received a $2.175 million signing bonus and a deal worth $8.175 million over five years. The third and fourth seasons are guaranteed.

Abraham, from South Carolina, also got a five-year deal with the third and fourth seasons guaranteed. He received a $2 million signing bonus and a total package worth $7.55 million

During the spring, the Jets signed their other first-rounder, tight end Anthony Becht of West Virginia.

Pennington is expected to be the third-string quarterback behind Vinny Testaverde and Ray Lucas. But he is considered the Jets' quarterback of the future.