FRIDAY, 11:40am: Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com has the year-by-year breakdown of Pouncey’s new deal, which creates a cap hit of about $5MM for 2014.
THURSDAY, 8:28am: The Steelers have agreed to terms with standout center Maurkice Pouncey on a five-year contract extension, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. According to Florio, the five-year pact is worth a little over $44MM, with $13MM in the form of a signing bonus and $26.5MM coming in the first three years. Since Pouncey had one year remaining on his current deal, the new agreement will ensure that he remains under team control through the 2019 season.
Pouncey, who turns 25 next month, missed the majority of the 2013 campaign after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in Week One. Prior to that lost season, the former Gator had been the Steelers’ starter in the middle of the line since entering the league as the 18th overall pick in 2010. During his three full seasons, Pouncey earned three Pro Bowl berths and an All-Pro nod in 2011, and he has seen his Pro Football Focus grades (subscription required) steadily improve. According to PFF, the Florida product was the 21st-best player at his position in 2010, 19th in 2011, and 12th in 2012, all before he turned 24.
It’s likely no coincidence that the $44MM figure on Pouncey’s five new seasons just barely eclipses the $42MM Alex Mack earned on his five-year contract this past offseason. The most recent contracts for Carolina’s Ryan Kalil and Nick Mangold of the Jets had higher overall values than Pouncey’s new deal, but the Pittsburgh center has established a new high water mark for annual salary for a center, at $8.8MM. His previous deal had called for a base salary worth around $1.288MM in 2014.
When I evaluated Pouncey’s case for an extension last week, I predicted a deal in the neighborhood of five years and $40MM, with $15MM+ in guaranteed money. Although we’ll have to wait for the full breakdown of salaries and guarantees on the new agreement, it looks like I slightly underestimated the overall value of the deal, and perhaps overshot the amount of the guarantee a little. That structure makes sense though, considering the Steelers may have been reluctant to award Pouncey a huge guarantee when he’s still recovering from last season’s knee injury.
With Pouncey locked up, the Steelers can turn their attention to other potential extension candidates on the roster. Outside linebacker Jason Worilds may be one of the club’s top priorities — Worilds is currently in position to play the 2014 season under the one-year transition tag, but remains hopeful for a multiyear contract that will keep him in Pittsburgh beyond this year.
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