There could be a storm brewing on the horizone for the Miami Dolphins, and even a canopy over Sun Life Stadium wouldn't be able to protect everyone. Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is entering the last year of his rookie contract, at least until the Dolphins use their team option - which must be exercised by May 3 of this year - and, according to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, Pouncey is looking for a long term deal from the team that drafted him 15th overall in 2011.
According to NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 7 (Rookie Compensation and Rookie Compensation Pool), Section 3 (Rookie Contracts), Subparagraph k, rookies must complete the third year of their contract prior to being able to renegotiate his deal. For Pouncey, that's this year.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, have to decide exactly what they will do with Pouncey. He's the last remaining player on the team involved in the harassment scandal that rocked the team last year, with Richie Incognito a free agent, John Jerry signing with the New York Giants, and Jonathan Martin traded to the San Francisco 49ers. Miami sees Pouncey as a leader of the team, but they also realize he has some maturing to do. Pouncey was also caught up in controversary last season when he and his twin brother Maurkice were photographed wearing "Free Hernandez" hats in refernce to their former University of Florida teammate Aaron Hernandez, who has been charged with murder in Massachusetts.
Pouncey's on-the-field performance clearly is worthy of a long-term, lucrative contract. Does his off-the-field concerns, including a potential suspension for his role in the harassment situation, counter that deal, however? Perhaps using the fifth-year option is the right move for the Dolphins as they try to decide exactly what to do with Pouncey's contract.
Will using the option, however, bring about a storm that neither Pouncey nor the Dolphins really want? Will Pouncey skip OTAs as a sign of his displeasure with his current contract? Does this get ugly over the next few weeks?