FOUR BITS: Spikes, Murphy, Wright, Tebow

By Adam Silverstein
April 9, 2014

1 » Linebacker Brandon Spikes became the third former Florida Gators football player to find a new home this offseason when he agreed to a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Buffalo Bills in late March. Spikes is guaranteed just $900,000 (his signing bonus) as part of the deal, which has a base salary of $1.25 million and an additional $1.1 million available via bonuses. he can also earn up to $250,000 through incentives. Though Spikes was a favorite of New England owner Robert Kraft, he did not enjoy his time with the Patriots. Especially bothersome to Spikes was the fact that he played injured the entire 2013 season and was suddenly placed on injury reserve before a playoff game despite not suffering a setback. Now Spikes will be able to go head-to-head with his former team as he is on another squad in the AFC East.

2 » Shortly after Spikes signed, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers inked wide receiver Louis Murphy to a one-year contract. Murphy, who grew up less than 30 minutes outside of Tampa, jumped at the opportunity to play for his hometown team, which will be his fourth franchise in six seasons. After compiling 1,130 yards and six touchdowns in 30 games with the Oakland Raiders over his first two seasons in the NFL, Murphy has amassed just 654 yards and two touchdowns in 41 games in the last three years with Oakland, the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants. He will earn $730,000 with a $65,000 roster bonus and the potential to add up to $300,000 in his incentive-laden deal.

3 » The Buccaneers doubled up on Gators by signing former Chicago Bears safety Major Wright to a one-year deal on Tuesday. New Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith, who was Wright’s coach in Chicago for his first three seasons, pinpointed the hard-hitter as an offseason target and got his man. Wright has started all 31 of the Bears’ games over the last two seasons but was listed as last among safeties on Pro Football Focus’ annual positional rankings. He becomes the third Florida player on the Bucs, joining Wright and running back Jeff Demps.

4 » A former Gators player drafted by Tampa Bay but no longer on the team is Ahmad Black, who is one of a number of guys still looking for work as the offseason continues. Quarterbacks Rex Grossman (an 11-year veteran) and Tim Tebow also remain unsigned, as do a number of other Florida players who did not make it through training camp and onto a team’s roster last season.

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