Linebacker Ronald Powell became the first of the Florida Gators‘ four draftees to sign his rookie contract, inking a four-year, $2.39 million deal with the New Orleans Saints on Friday.
The No. 169 overall pick in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Powell appeared in 36 games with 21 starts for the Gators. He registered 84 tackles (55 solo, 19 for loss), 11 sacks, two pass defenses and a forced fumble at Florida, leading the team with four quarterback takedowns in 2013 after missing the entire 2012 season due to a torn ACL.
Powell will earn $462,215 as a rookie in 2014, including a $420,000 base salary and one-quarter of his guaranteed $168,860 signing bonus, which will be paid out over the duration of his contract. His annual average salary is $597,215, which will max out at $732,215 during the final year of his deal in 2017.
“Obviously with all of Powell’s ability, we have a tremendous upside there with him. We’re working with him a great bit. We’re looking forward to really good things from him,” said New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
“Right now we’re seeing him as a Sam linebacker. We’re not putting in any special defenses for rookie camps or OTAs. We’re just teaching guys the regular base positions. … He’ll be working at SAM linebacker and he’s doing a good job.”
Ryan continued: “He has great desire. He knows has a lot of upside and we’re going to just keep working him and getting it out of him. He’ll have the opportunity in New Orleans.”
The first Gators player drafted by the Saints since 1998 and just the sixth selected dating back to 1974, Powell will be the only Florida alumnus on the New Orleans roster.
— ProLogic (@ProLogicMgt) May 17, 2014