The Pittsburgh Steelers spent a total of $74 million on contract extensions for former Florida Gators offensive linemen this summer after signing offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert to a five-year extension on Tuesday.
Gilbert’s extension is worth $30 million, according to ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio, making his new six-year deal worth a maximum of $31 million as he will be paid $1.03 million during the final year of his rookie contract in 2014. The portion of his contract that is fully guaranteed is information that was not available as of press time.
“It means I am locked in hopefully as a Steeler for the rest of my career,” said Gilbert in a team press release. “It’s a blessing to work for a great organization, the Rooney family, Kevin Colbert and Coach [Mike] Tomlin. Just to be around in Pittsburgh, where they show you so much love, I couldn’t be happier and in a better place.”
Just over two months ago on June 12, the Steelers locked up center Maurkice Pouncey with a similar five-year, $44 million extension, including $13 million in fully-guaranteed money. The extension, which put his new contract at six years and up to $48 million, made him the highest-paid center in the NFL.
Like Pouncey, who will make $14 million 2014 after adding a large portion of his signing bonus to the $3.8 million he was set to earn in the last year of his rookie deal, Gilbert will likely see his salary jump this season.
“Pouncey and I have been friends since high school,” said Gilbert. “It’s a blessing to have a brother in the same city, playing on the same team, you can’t ask for anything more. We have had our ups and downs and now we are Steelers for life.”
Gilbert has started 35 of the 36 games he has played during his first three years in Pittsburgh. He missed all but five games during the 2012 campaign after suffering a season-ending ankle injury early in the campaign.
He rebounded to start all 16 games in 2013, and the Steelers obviously see him as a building block for the future of their franchise.
Gilbert is the third former Florida player to haul in a major contract extension this offseason. In addition to Pouncey’s big-time deal, the Cleveland Browns inked cornerback Joe Haden to a five-year, $68 million extension on May 13 with $45 million guaranteed.
The three have racked up $142 million combined in contract extensions this offseason.
Haden and Pouncey were, respectively, the No. 7 and No. 18 overall picks in the 2010 NFL Draft, while Gilbert was selected No. 63 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.