WEDNESDAY, 10:25am: Allen received a $6.75MM signing bonus, with an overall value of $24.5MM on the four new years, says Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap (Twitter links). Fitzgerald adds that the deal includes a $3MM roster bonus in 2015.
SATURDAY, 7:48pm: Allen’s reported $26MM figure will apply to the five total years he’ll be under contract rather than just the four new years, says Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter).
7:18pm: The Steelers and cornerback Cortez Allen have reached an agreement on a four-year contract extension worth more than $26MM, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Considering Pittsburgh generally doesn’t negotiate in-season extensions, the two sides took talks down to the wire, with news of a new deal breaking less than 24 hours before the team’s first game of the 2014 season.
Allen, a fourth-round pick in 2011, has steadily become a more important part of the Steelers’ defense during his first three NFL seasons, making eight starts for the club last year and recording 51 tackles, 13 passes defended, and a pair of interceptions. Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required) liked his play too, grading him as an above-average corner and ranking him 36th out of 110 qualified players at the position.
Allen’s extension is the latest in a string of new deals between the Steelers and their key players this offseason. Offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert also agreed to extensions, and the team secured kicker Shaun Suisham to a long-term pact as well. Ben Roethlisberger is the one notable extension candidate not to receive a new contract from the team thus far, but both parties intend to revisit that topic after the season.
We’ll have to wait for the full details on exactly how much of Allen’s new money is guaranteed, and what the year-by-year breakdown looks like, but based on the numbers reported so far, it looks a little richer than Alterraun Verner‘s four-year, $25.5MM deal with the Buccaneers. A handful of corners, including Sam Shields, Aqib Talib, Vontae Davis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Brent Grimes, inked contracts with larger annual average values than Allen’s $6.5MM, but considering the Steeler only has 11 career starts on his résumé, that’s not all that surprising.
The 25-year-old Allen had been set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, which paid him a $1.431MM base salary for 2014. Assuming that figure remains unchanged, Allen’s next five years should be worth over $27MM, with the new deal keeping him under team control through the 2018 season.
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