With Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey agreeing to a four-year, $9.3 million deal with the team late Saturday evening, all four former Florida Gators selected in the 2011 NFL Draft have officially been signed by their respective clubs.
Pouncey, who missed the first two days of practice while his agents and Miami’s brass were working out his deal, was pleased to announce to fans that he would finally be lacing up his cleats on Sunday.
“Thanks for all the support,” he wrote on Twitter around midnight, “the deal is done see you all at practice tomorrow.”
Due to the brand new collective bargaining agreement, Pouncey’s rookie contract is significantly less than his brother’s was one year ago even though the former was selected three slots higher. Center Maurkice Pouncey was chosen with the 18th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and signed a five-year, $17.96 million deal. Mike’s contract is fully guaranteed while Maurkice’s included $10.35 million of guaranteed money.
Also signing with his team this week was Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert, who agreed to a $3.227 million deal including an $847,000 signing bonus. A second-round pick, Gilbert hopes to join Maurkice on Pittsburgh’s starting offensive line this season and spent the lockout getting tips from him while learning about the offense.
“It’s been pretty straightforward,” Gilbert told the Beaverton County Times late in the week. “It’s just trying to switch over the language of the offense and little stuff here and there that I never ran in college. The older guys are taking me under their wing and showing me how to do it the right way.”
Florida’s two late round picks – safety Ahmad Black (fifth round) and guard Maurice Hurt (seventh round) – each signed four-year deals with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins, respectively.
Black told the New York Times that he knows he has his work cut out for him and is still getting acclimated to the professional game. He is willing to start from the bottom and work is way up to a starting role.
“It’s a little bit different than college,” Black said on Friday. “Coming from Florida with coach [Urban] Meyer, he always stressed special teams so it’s nothing new to me. A lot of guys think since they started in college, they will start here. That’s definitely not the case. I’m going to earn my role on special teams to work my way on the defense.”
OGGOA will keep you up-to-date with all four rookies (as well as all of the undrafted free agents who signed with teams) through training camp and the 2011 regular season.