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Jags bolster D-line by signing Hayward

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 3, 2005) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars signed free agent defensive end Reggie Hayward to a five-year contract, filling one of their primary needs and bolstering a line anchored by Pro Bowl tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson.

Hayward, who spent the past four seasons with the Denver Broncos, had a career-high 10½ sacks last year. The Jaguars expect him to be even better alongside Stroud and Henderson. The contract pays $25 million with $10 million guaranteed.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound lineman fills a glaring need for the Jags, whose top pass-rusher last season was converted linebacker Greg Favors. The team lost both starters at defensive end, Lionel Barnes and Paul Spicer, to season-ending injuries early in the year.

Hayward was a third-round draft pick by the Broncos out of Iowa State in 2001. He had a breakthrough year in 2003, registering 8½ sacks.

The Broncos could have designated Hayward their franchise player, but declined to do so. The Jags targeted Hayward soon after Denver opted to let him become a free agent and signed him on the first day of the free agent period.

Hayward had 60 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery last season.

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