Packers Extend Lee's Contract
Next game: Sunday, November 11 vs. Minnesota
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Packers tight end Donald Lee signed a four-year extension worth just under $12 million, his agent said Monday.
"He is really excited about the deal," agent Brian Levy said.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Lee, who has 29 receptions for 382 yards and a touchdown, has become an integral part of the Packers' offense this season with fellow tight end Bubba Franks out with a knee injury. Lee received a raise from his current salary of just over $1.4 million, meaning the bonus on his new deal was $3 million, Levy said.
Lee's contract had been set to end at the end of this season, his third in Green Bay, and Levy said it was clear they made the right decision after watching safety Nick Collins injure his left knee in Sunday's 33-22 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
"You watch Collins go down and you say, 'Wow, can Donald walk away from $12 million at this point and take a chance and play the rest of the season and get hurt?," Levy said. "The answer is no."
Levy said the Packers' organization has been extremely impressive in getting deals done and acknowledging mistakes the club has made in free agency.
"These pre-emptive strikes that they're making with their free agents-to-be really is indicative of why they're so successful now and continue to be," Levy said. "Not only are they identifying the young players they want to keep on the roster, but now these players are going to have some sort of consistency with one another."
The Packers are 7-1 this season, and Levy said it's a credit to Packers vice president Andrew Brandt, a former agent who handles negotiations.
"It's a lot of home spun talent or guys they've developed. It's really a credit to them and their scouting department, and Andrew Brandt for putting these deals together that are going to stand the test of time," Levy said. "Some of them may be below market value two and three years down the road, but again, it's a win-win."
Lee, who struggled with injuries last season and spent most of the offseason in Green Bay getting stronger, has started seven of eight games this year. He has 92 catches for 1,046 yards and five touchdowns over his five-year career.
"He's taken advantage of every opportunity through the offseason," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's really stepped up since Bubba has gone down. He's been very consistent, even when Bubba was in there when we were playing both of those guys. I can't say enough about him. I'm very happy with his production the first eight games."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)