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Now that a new four-year contract has given him financial security and job stability, Jim Fassel would like to guarantee something else -- a place as one of the New York Giants' best coaches.

Fassel, whose guarantee of a playoff berth ignited the Giants' run to the Super Bowl, was rewarded Tuesday with a contract that makes him one of the NFL's top-paid coaches.

Financial terms were not immediately available, but Fassel reportedly will earn $11 million over the length of the contract. He earned $1.1 million last season, when the Giants turned from an also-ran into NFC champions.

"The drive for me right now is to be successful," Fassel said. "I want to go down in the history of this organization as one of the best football coaches. I want to bring a Super Bowl win here, and that's what is driving me. Nothing else is driving me."

The long-expected deal came about a month after the Giants were beaten, 34-7, by the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.

It capped a season that started with Fassel's job on the line after having missed the playoffs the previous two years.

Around the league

Troy Aikman's contract with the Dallas Cowboys could be revised, a move that would only delay a decision on the quarterback's status for the 2001 season. Under a plan that must be approved by the NFL management council, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Aikman's agent, Leigh Steinberg, have agreed to delay the due date for Aikman's $7 million bonus from March 15 to June 1. Aikman's contract calls for the $7 million bonus and extension of his contract through 2007 if he's on the roster March 15.

The New England Patriots cut linebacker Chris Slade and his $1.7 million salary. The Patriots must make other moves to bring their payroll down to the cap of $67.4 million by Friday's deadline.

The Green Bay Packers released right tackle Earl Dotson, their best offensive lineman whose career was curtailed by back injuries the last two seasons. But that doesn't mean his time in Green Bay is over. Dotson fell under a special category in which he couldn't take a drastic pay cut to help the team get under the $67.4 million salary limit for next season.

The Chicago Bears said they won't offer a contact to running back Curtis Enis, making the former first-round draft pick an unrestricted free agent.

The San Francisco 49ers issued contract offers to Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia and eight other free agents. The team remains nearly $6 million over the salary cap.

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