One phone call changed everything.
Jaguars general manager Gene Smith called Mincey late Tuesday night, offering more money and a chance to stay where he spent the last six seasons. Mincey jumped at the opportunity, and didn't even allow the Bears to counter.
"It wasn't really a financial issue for me," Mincey said. "It was more seeing the organization step up at the right moment and show how much they cared and how much they respect me as a man and as a player at the right time. I was just shocked at the moment and impressed. They won me over at the last minute like the game-winning shot."
Mincey signed a four-year contract worth $20 million Wednesday afternoon. It includes $9 million guaranteed -- an $8 million signing bonus and a guaranteed salary of $1 million in 2012. The up-front money is good for Mincey, and the two years of back-loaded salary are good for the team.
"Deep down in my heart I wanted to be a Jaguar, but I also wanted to be respected as a football player," he said. "I know I don't play like the rest of the guys. I'm not the longest or the fastest or the strongest or jump the highest or any of those things. But the one thing they will get out of me is 100 percent effort, and I will do whatever I can to defeat the man in front of me."
Mincey's relentless motor always has been one of his best traits.
He finished with a career-high eight sacks last season and was close to many more. He has played in 40 games, with 24 starts, since signing with the Jaguars in December 2006. Originally a sixth-round draft pick by New England in 2006, Mincey's early career was plagued by injuries.
But he has started to find his niche in the last two years.
Now, he feels he can be a double-digit sack guy for years.
"Yeah, I never doubt myself," Mincey said. "I do this to prove my ability. I've got a lot of getting better to do. Last season was just a brief description of who I am and what I bring to the table. Like I said, I got a long way to go. Keep climbing up the hill 'til I get there."
Behind Mario Williams, Mincey was considered one of the top free agent defensive ends on the market.
The Bears and the Cleveland Browns wanted him.
Mincey really only considered Chicago.
"It was a good fit," he said. "Who wouldn't want to play beside Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher? They're a first-class organization. They do things right. They got a lot of good pieces to make it happen."
"The way I see it is, why become part of a legacy when you can build your own?" Mincey said. "That was my take on it, and that was the line that stuck in my head throughout this whole process, and that was one of the key factors for me choosing Jacksonville."
The Jaguars needed Mincey back, too.
Fellow starter Matt Roth is a free agent, and veteran Aaron Kampman is coming off his third knee surgery in as many years. John Chick, Austen Lane and Aaron Morgan also are recovering from season-ending injuries. So there were questions on the defensive line.
"Our defense is built on being relentless, and the best two components are high velocity and never stop. That's Mincey," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "In regards to how much money he's making or what his contract says, it doesn't matter with Jeremy. He's going to play. He's going to give us a 100 percent every single time. We can count on it and that is what's special about him."
To that end,
Jacksonville and backup defensive tackle C.J. Mosley also agreed to terms on a three-year deal worth up to $10 million.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.