Nearly a week before the start of free agency, the Cincinnati Bengals signed offensive lineman Mike Pollak to a three-year deal worth $4.8 million. Pollak, who figures to compete for the team's vacant starting center position, could also work other positions on the offensive line. He's Paul Alexander's most prized utility man.
The deal carries $1 million in guaranteed money, with $500,000 signing bonus and a $500,000 roster bonus. Pollak is scheduled to make a base salary of $1.025 million in 2014, $1.2 million in 2015 and $1.35 million in 2016. Per Spotrac.
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Since being drafted in the second round by the Colts, he's played mostly at guard with some snaps at tackle sprinkled in, but never has started an NFL game as a center.
Pollak finished his ASU career by starting 31 straight at center on his way to being named First-team All-Pac 10 as a senior. Needless to say, he knows how to play the position:
"They made me a center when I went to Arizona State and by the time I left I felt like I was born to play the position,’ said Pollak, via Bengals.com. "I know there is the draft and free agency to go through, but I’m excited at getting the opportunity to play center. I like being the guy you can count on. That leadership role fits my personality more."
Don't just hand the starting job to Pollak yet though.
"Not only is there a looming training camp battle with third-year man Trevor Robinson, a veteran of seven starts as a rookie, and last year’s seventh-rounder T.J. Johnson, but there is also a deep crop of centers in the draft," says Geoff Hobson. "It's also believed the Bengals are going to bring in some veteran offensive linemen let go by other teams to examine."