He broke the news on his Twitter account, and used the platform to extend his thanks to his family and everyone who has helped him during his football career. He also extended a “special thank you to the Rooney family, Coach Tomlin, Coach Kugler and Kevin Colbert for drafting me in 2011 and giving me the opportunity to live my dream and play for the Pittsburgh Steelers for eight years, cheered on by the support of the best fans in the National Football League.”
The latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!
Marcus Gilbert Was Pittsburgh’s Second-Round Pick in 2011
Gilbert, who turned 33 in February, entered the NFL in 2011, when Pittsburgh made him its second-round selection in the draft out of the University of Florida. He went on to play with the Steelers through the 2018 season, starting 87 of the 88 games in which he appeared.
In November 2017 he was suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drugs policy, a year in which he made just seven starts at right tackle, followed by just five starts in 2018.
In March 2019 the Steelers traded Gilbert to the Arizona Cardinals for a 2019 sixth-round draft pick, one they used to select linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III. But Gilbert missed the 2019 season when he suffered a torn ACL in practice the week before the regular-season opener.
He went on to sign a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Cardinals in March 2020, but five months later he chose to sit out the 2020 NFL season due to the pandemic, describing himself as “a high-risk player with high-risk family members.”
As a result, his contract rolled over to 2021, and had he returned this season he likely faced an uphill battle in terms of trying to make Arizona’s roster.
Former Steelers Tackle Kelvin Beachum Replaced Gilbert in Arizona
It’s worth noting, though, that when Gilbert opted out of the 2020 season, the Cardinals replaced him by signing another former Steelers offensive tackle, that being Kelvin Beachum, who inked a one-year deal for $1.187 million and went on to start all 16 games at right tackle.
As such, Beachum turned out to be one of the biggest bargains in the league, so much so that he ended up earning a league-high performance-based pay bonus of $604,185. Last month the former seventh-round pick re-signed with the Cardinals, inking a two-year deal worth $4 million with $3,075,000 guaranteed.
Much like Gilbert, Beachum has strong ties to Arizona’s run game coordinator/offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who was with the Steelers when they drafted Gilbert in 2011 and Beachum in 2012.
One can expect that Beachum will hold down Arizona’s right tackle spot again in 2021, though the team also has 2020 third-round pick Josh Jones and could add to the position during the upcoming draft. Beachum will be blocking for former Steelers running back James Conner, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals in free agency after spending the first four years of his NFL career in Pittsburgh.
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!