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Jaguars C Luke Fortner signs 4-year, $5.5M rookie contract

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jacksonville Jaguars center Luke Fortner signed a four-year contract worth $5.5 million Thursday, becoming the last of the team's seven draft picks to sign.

Fortner was a third-round selection, No. 65 overall, in the draft. The former Kentucky standout could be a plug-and-play starter for the Jaguars, who lost veteran center Brandon Linder to retirement last month.

Jacksonville has had essentially just two guys man the position for the better part of the past two decades. Brad Meester was the team's starting center beginning in 2003, and Linder replaced him in 2014. Linder called it quits after eight injury-filled seasons.

The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Fortner, who turned 24 two weeks ago, started all 13 games at center last year for the Wildcats. He previously started 23 games at guard. He has master's degrees in mechanical engineering and business.

He's the latest part of the team's offensive line makeover. The Jags re-signed left tackle Cam Robinson to a three-year, $54 million contract, brought in five-time Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff on a three-year, $49.5 million deal, brought back reserves Tyler Shatley and Will Richardson and drafted Fortner.

They also let starting guards A.J. Cann and Andrew Norwell walk before Linder retired.

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Updated May 26, 2022

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