Dec 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel (99) pumps the crowd up against the Cleveland Browns in the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Keisel Is Priority Over Pouncey For Pittsburgh Steelers


It’s Christmas in July (or June) for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  LaMarr Woodley is officially gone and off the books for the Steelers, and that means they have a heap of money in the form of $8 million sitting in the piggy bank on Kevin Colbert’s desk.  Due to the Rule of 51, the team really only has $7.7-7.8 million.  As has been discussed before, after the rest of the rookies are signed, the Steelers will have $1.5 to $2 million left to play with (at least according to spotrac).

That amount of money would be perfect for a certain someone.  And no, it’s not Big Ben or Cortez Allen and certainly not Maurkice Pouncey.

Those are the top three players that have been tossed around as those needing extensions before the start of this season.  Well I can tell you that $1.5 million (or even $2 mil) won’t be enough, even from a signing bonus standpoint, to rework a deal in the form of contract extensions with those three vets.  The old coot, Ed B from the PPG, talked about Pouncey getting inked a new deal because the Steelers will have close to $6 million in free money after signing the rookies.  I’m not sure where he got his math on this, but according to spotrac (a very reliable contract source) and the estimates that he rookies will be signed for, the Steelers will only have under $2 million left.

Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Bradley (middle) accompanies center Maurkice Pouncey (53) off the field after Pouncey suffered an injury against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at Heinz Field. It was revealed after the game that Pouncey suffered a season ending knee injury. The Tennessee Titans won 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Even if the Steelers have $6 million, Pouncey is not the deserved party for that money.  First and foremost is Brett Keisel.  The vet wants to come back, and I doubt that he will play hard ball with negotiations and ask for anything above the league min for vets with his experience – $1 million.  With Ed’s funny money, the Steelers would have $5 million.  In my opinion, all of that should go to signing Big Ben to a new deal, and Pouncey should be left to fend for a big contract with his performance this season after coming off a major ACL injury.

Pouncey has a history of injuries, and while the knee is not really his own undoing, the susceptibility to injury could mean that knee gets dinged up on a regular basis.  A three time Pro Bowler and “Top Center” will get top dollar – a big risk if you ask me for someone who has yet to play a snap at full speed since tearing up his knee.  The Steelers have employed a sundry of offensive linemen this offseason, and if Velasco can come back from his own injury, then there is certainly no rush to lock in Pouncey.

No no, the money, no matter what is left should go to Keisel.  Shoring up that defensive line to help make sure the run stop and pass rush is as good as it could be is much more of a priority this season.  I just don’t see Pouncey sustaining the level of play he has in his Pro Bowl seasons that would force the Steelers to pay big bucks in 2015 for him.  They can risk the wait.  I can see a large rift becoming even wider between Big Ben and the front office the longer his contract extension waiting game goes on.  In fact, the two sides have sworn to secrecy about negotiations, which means something must be going on.  We’ve heard nothing through the wire about Pouncey – though that doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t discussions.

The priority is Keisel, Ben, then Heyward.  Then Allen.  And then and only then should the Steelers consider Pouncey.  And by then, there’s no money – Ed B’s or spotrac’s.

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Tags: Brett Keisel Maurkice Pouncey Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Chris Maxwell

    So let me get this straight, the money should go to a old vet who never made the Pro Bowl and also stays injured due to age and also said that he won’t play for vet minimum, instead of a three time Pro Bowler that is at least 8 years younger…. Lol you guys are funny.

    • Armanuel Works

      great point

    • [email protected]

      Chris, agree….. I, too, would want Keisel back but to say that his signing is THE priority over Ben or Heyward just doesn’t feel right.
      I think Keisel will take slightly more than the vet minimum, play out his career, we will have a coach on the field DE who can help develop Tuitt.
      But yeah, given the choice they would take Pouncey extension over bringing Keisel back, I would think.

      • Rick Eger

        We have enough couches on the field…we need young, hungry players.

    • Kyle

      Keisel, god bless him, is little more than a mascot at this point. Maybe give him a vet minimum if there is some money left, but his contract and Pouncey’s should be completely un-related. I don’t get the relative hate on Pouncey either. You draft a guy in round one who starts immediately, is an instant pro bowler and team captain, and you don’t want to re-sign him? That’s kinda how this whole player evaluation and development thing is supposed to work.

    • SDAZT_STEEL

      First of all, Keisel made the Pro Bowl in 2010. He didn’t attend because he was playing in Super Bowl XLV so you might want to get your facts straight.

      Second, Pouncey hasn’t been a beacon of health in recent seasons and hasn’t played more than one game, let alone a full quarter, of regular season football since December of 2012.

      Handing a 40+ mil contract, what the market was set at w/Mack, to a player like Pouncey would be idiotic with the franchise QB still without a long-term deal, Cortez Allen and Jason Worilds set to become UFA in 2015 and Cameron Heyward set to hit the open market in 2016.

      Also, I in no way, shape or form want to see Keisel back for another season either. They took Tuitt in round two last month for a reason, and I hope he sees the field instead of ceding time to a past-his-prime Keisel.

    • Rick Eger

      They could have Keisel for 1.5, Pouncey’s been over rated since day 1…..let him play out his option and let him walk.

  • Dave Buzard

    I’d be interested in seeing if Pouncey is capable of playing his way into a big contract. He’s a dominant player when he’s in there but, then again, so was Barry Foster. Bettis was always able to stay healthy and put up great numbers when another contract was on the line. No sense tying up long term money in Pouncey when his back ups have performed well (when they’re not injured). Keisel’s money is reasonable and short term.

  • SteelerCop

    The Beard is too old…and was part of the failed D-line we had last year…If the Steelers don’t get a veteran CB…there will be HUGE problems!!! Who is going to be our Nickel CB when we go Nickel this year…William Gay again!!! Arrrggghhh!

    • Starbuck63

      I know that William Gay bashing has been the in-thing for a bit now but all he did last year was be one of our best defensive players…and that’s not just my opinion.
      You yourself noted the lack of performance of the D-line. WIthout pressuring the QB NOBODY in the secondary can be what you’re expecting. It is a fundamental of football that
      wIthout line pressure, an average QB can light up your secondary and elite QB’s can utterly dissect it.

      The Steelers don’t need a veteran CB to avoid huge problems, they need a D-line that can pressure a QB into making mistakes so the guys we have can take advantage of it.

      • SteelerCop

        I agree with you totally! I was preaching that all last year! BUT, the STEELERS primary pass rush comes from the LBs…and we are good there. So, I think it’s time to say goodbye to the OLD…that couldn’t get it done…and bring on the NEW!

      • John Volpe

        If our defensive line steps up this year I think Gay is going to be a pleasant surprise. After coming back he had a fine season and I expect to finally see why our Steelers brought him back

    • Roger Johnson

      Ya..too old…What about Tom Brady?

      • Rick Eger

        Doh…..Brady’s a Q.B. big difference!

  • Chris Maxwell

    He might have made it as an alternate because the roster that I just looked up 2secs ago he’s missing in action. Regardless why would the Steelers spend money on a player who wants over the vet minimum in which already been stated on a player that NO Other team values. And give him money praying that he finish the season. Knowing that this is his last year in the league period. No matter how you slice it, Pouncey is a three time Pro Bowler IN HIS PRIME but let’s disregard that and give it to a player at the END OF HIS CAREER.

    • SDAZT_STEEL

      Ok, where did I say that they should re-sign Keisel? In fact, I not only said they shouldn’t sign him this year, I thought they should have released him last year. Nice try though.

      Also, I would hardly consider someone who is coming off of an ACL injury like Pouncey, who also missed postseason games in 2010 and 2011 due to injuries as someone “in their prime.” Also, plenty of people made Pro Bowls, “in their prime,” before they were injured and some failed to return to form.

      This team should at least see if Pouncey can return to form before they hand him what the market value for centers indicates. Otherwise they’re running the risk of flushing money down the toilet. Most of all however, they’d better re-sign their franchise QB before they do anything else, and that includes extending their hobbled center.

      I’d rather see this team hand extensions to Cortez Allen and Cameron Heyward before they gave Pouncey any guaranteed money. Moreover, when is the last time a team won a Super Bowl with a center who was not only drafted in round one, but also had one of the top three-five salaries on his team?

  • Chris Maxwell

    And Kiesel have been healthy?? What Steelers team do you watch, it’s certainly not the NFL STEELERS. Because Kiesel have been injured for several years straight.

    • Rick Eger

      Kiesel’s finished we all know that….so is James Harrison.

  • Carl Eagan

    Pouncey is over-rated and only made the probowl because homers that don’t understand the game vote. Two different centers last year performed at least as well as he does and we can always count on him getting hurt. Kiesel was hurt last year but he has a history of durability most on here don’t know about. Pouncey was a team captain because he personified Tomlin’s street corner mentality in the lockerroom not because he is an exceptional player.

    • Kyle

      Carl, what is this ‘street corner mentality’ that you speak of? Why don’t you just say what you mean? It’s the internet. Speak freely.

      Just because Keisel was durable earlier in his career doesn’t mean he is now. Ask Aaron Smith. He was a great player, sure, but anything more than vet minimum just before training camp is too much. And who would you cut? I can see pursuing Harrison for the right price, because Carter hasn’t shown anything in four years, that I can tell.

    • Rick Eger

      Mr. high ankle sprain..

  • Steelers12328882

    LOL just found this. Too funny. FOOT. IN. MOUTH. lol