An early Christmas gift

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

MONTREAL -- It looks like it could be a very merry Christmas for Kerry Joseph.

The Renegades are nearing agreement on a long-term contract extension with their No. 1 quarterback, a deal that sources have confirmed would cover five years and pay Joseph $2 million.

"We've been working on this for some time with Kerry ... we have not totally reached an agreement but we are very close," Renegades GM Forrest Gregg said from his home in Colorado last night.

"As far as the numbers are concerned, I can't comment one way or the other."

There are details that still have to be ironed out, but it's believed the landmark contract could be signed and made official either later this month or early in January.

Entering his option year, Joseph was to make a base salary of $310,000 in 2006. By equalling his numbers of last season, he would earn $375,000.

The Renegades were not prepared to allow Joseph to play out his option, preferring instead to have a commitment giving them a quarterback to build around.

If Joseph wasn't interested in extending, they were ready to look elsewhere. Joseph could sign and still be cut or traded at any time during the five years, leaving the Renegades off the hook for what was left of the contract.

"The thing about it, like every other position, it has to be earned," said Gregg.

"There are no giveaways."

The Renegades believe Joseph could be worth every penny of the $2 million, however.

"The league office has asked us not to comment on players' contracts until they are registered and approved by the league office," said Renegades president Lonie Glieberman, who drew the ire of commissioner Tom Wright when he guaranteed the first two years of a five-year deal with linebacker Kyries Hebert (that contract was later rejected by the league, and is currently being reworked).

"(Coach) John Jenkins and Forrest Gregg think Kerry can be a superstar in the new Renegades offence, and our goal with player contracts is to make them five years, as we believe player continuity helps win championships and builds an identity with the fans in the community."


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