Wednesday the much-reported deal became official as the Green Bay Packers announced the signing of defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt to a multi-year contract extension.
For the Packers, who potentially could lose both Gilbert Brown and Vonnie Holliday to the free agent market this offseason, it means security along the defensive line. For Hunt, it means relief.
"I wanted a deal done, the sooner the better," Hunt said Wednesday from his offseason residence in Memphis, Tenn.
"I'm fortunate that a deal could be worked out. My time with the team has been nothing but a good experience. I'm pleased with the organization and being a part of the Packers. Plus, the Packers are the team that drafted me and if I can I want to finish my career there."
In Hunt, the Packers secure a player on the rise.
His first three seasons in the league, Hunt was asked to flip-flop between tackle and defensive end. But the departure of Santana Dotson last offseason presented Hunt with a chance to be an everyday starter at the Packers' 'Eagle' tackle position.
He responded to the challenge by producing a career-best 48 tackles (32 solo) and 5.5 sacks. He also forced one fumble -- of Carolina Panthers quarterback Rodney Peete, preserving the Packers' 17-14 win -- and recovered two fumbles.
Now approaching his fifth NFL season, Hunt stands only to improve.
"I feel like last season was a sneak peek at my potential at tackle," Hunt said. "As a backup I could never get it going. You're in for a few plays here and there and it's hard to get into a rhythm ... Now I can just focus on one position and work on perfecting that."
Hunt's goals for the upcoming season are lofty, but not surprising: a Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, in that order.
Over time, he hopes to establish himself as one of the league's elite players.
"I want to go out there and conquer more," Hunt said. "I want to try and be one of the best, to put up numbers like some of the great ones."
If the Packers successfully re-sign restricted free agent defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, they would have a two-man cornerstone of youthful talent that could terrorize opposing quarterbacks for years to come.
The thought of that appeals to Hunt, as does Joe Johnson's return from a torn triceps next season.
"We've got the potential to be one of the best D-lines in the NFL -- a dominant defensive line all the way across the board," Hunt said. "We'll have to wait and see what happens, but it's exciting to think about."
With contract negotiations behind him, Hunt will have time now to imagine the Packers' potential.
He's spent the offseason thus far "relaxing and letting my bruises heal." But things will get a little more adventurous at the end of the month, when he takes a mystery vacation.
"My girlfriend is taking me somewhere, but she won't tell me," Hunt said. "It's a surprise. She just told me to get a passport."
In a few months it will be time to go after the quarterback again. Back in a Packers uniform.