October 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) waits for the snap from center Maurkice Pouncey (53) against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mainly Frustrations Cloud Pittsburgh Steelers Pouncey Deal

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a move on Thursday that would keep center Maurkice Pouncey around for the next five years after his rookie deal expires this season.  As I pointed out in an earlier post, Steeler Nation is not a united front when it comes to feeling good about this latest contract negotiation.

While most point out that Pouncey is overrated, and therefore overpaid in his latest contract, that’s not exactly a black and white picture.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the flash and trash of a contract’s length and dollar figure.  Sure, if Pouncey plays all six seasons and meets all of his bonuses he could make off with $44 million – thus making him the highest paid center in the game thus far.  However, Pouncey’s contract is riddled with non-guarantees in the form of roster bonuses.  It’s a virtual security blanket for the Steelers to ensure the screw is twisted as little as possible if Pouncey proves that he cannot play at a high level after his ACL tear from 2013 (or if he decides to go on some sort of crusade to break his buddy Hernandez out of jail).  He’s only guaranteed 29% of his total contract number – almost unheard of when dealing with ‘the best.’

So those that think the Steelers are wasting their dough – that’s not quite true to a certain extent.  Over The Cap has done (as usual) a pretty great breakdown of Pouncey’s new deal and compares it to Alex Mack’s and even Ryan Kalil’s.

Still, Pouncey is costing a lot of money for 2014 and 2015 on a knee that has yet to see real action after a season ending ACL tear.  You have to admit it’s a risk, and it’s slightly irritating that they would sign him now rather than wait and see.  Ok, it’s very irritating – but not because of the money alone or because Pouncey is coming off of a major injury, or that Pouncey has been a jagoff numerous times over his career when he’s supposed to be a ‘leader’ in the locker room.  The irritation really stems from somewhere else.

Why in Myron Cope’s name are the Steelers signing Pouncey over Ben Roethlisberger?  And when will they sign their two-time Super Bowl winning future HOF quarterback to a deal that will have him retire only ever wearing a Steelers uniform?

Pouncey’s contract does take away potential funds from the Steelers having funds available to sign a contract extension with Big Ben.  Pouncey is an $8, $9, and then $10 million cap hit from 2015-2017.  Those are large numbers to have to squeeze in with other players who are already on the roster and getting big dollars from their contracts – like Antonio Brown.  In order to fit Roethlisberger a year from now in a big extension will leave the Steelers in the same old game they just got out of – restructure, release, restructure, release.  Maybe.

He’s the best center! – Skeptical on this one.  Three Pro-Bowls is kind of impressive, but honestly the Steelers have done well when Wallace started to fill the center role.  He’s also rated outside of the top ten on Pro Football Focus.  There’s some truth to his overrated nature.

He would have been too expensive next year! - Highly unlikely.  Looking at the finer points of Pouncey’s deal, it would have looked very similar then as it does now regardless of having another Pro Bowl season.  He was going to get more overall money than Mack.  Plain and simple.  And, if Pouncey even had an ounce of genuineness in his press conference on Thursday afternoon, staying with the Steelers was a dream come true – even if it came with less guaranteed money by the looks of it.

He’s a leader for the locker room! – While he may be a ‘motivator’ in the locker room, he certainly does not lead by example.  His infamous post-Super Bowl Tweet about having a rap CD and then taking it to loyal Steeler fans who criticized him for doing something like that minutes after a Super Bowl loss put into question his maturity.  That was further put into question when he and his twin brother wore “Free Hernandez” hats after soon to be discovered three-time murderer Aaron Hernandez was arrested.  Not exactly a poster child for ‘leader.’

The only thing that is keeping this deal from being a huge disaster is the safeties placed within the contract – although in my mind he’s the next Jason Kendall.  But, what is making this an utterly irritating deal is the fact that they have continually passed on making sure Big Ben is set to retire as a Steeler.  They kept telling long time Steeler and anchor on the offensive line, Alan Faneca, to wait, a lovely stall tactic that eventually had Faneca out and onto the Jets.  Do moves like the Pouncey deal continually tip the hand of Rooney and where Ben really sits on the totem pole?  Hard to speculate, but I can tell you that that is where most of the frustrations lie within the Pouncey deal.  Not the money.  Not the position.  It’s about Pouncey and Ben.  Period.


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Tags: Ben Roethilsberger Maurkice Pouncey Pittsburgh Steelers

  • bk

    While I feel good for him personally, this deal at this time makes no sense what- so- ever…
    He had a year left… at least wait until the season gets going and see how he is… The front office better pray he is not only back at 100%, but, plays better than before…
    A team with other needs (like CB) spends this kind of money now? Flowers just hit the market and that may have been a better investment… bring him in for a year and see if he can recapture his form….

    • ApexSteel

      I guarantee no one expected a star corner to get cut this late in the offseason so what really do you think we were planning on using that money for? Besides that, we wouldn’t be able to afford Flowers regardless and he had good season last year so a prove it deal is way out of the question. And you understand that the Pouncey deal gave us more cap room this year right?

      • Craig

        Wait – you realize the team is only saving around $265,000. That’s thousands not millions. Someone pointed this out in a tweet yesterday, and as I said then, “Oh thank heavens. Should be enough to sign Ben now, right? Oh wait…..”

        • bk

          Yeah… I just don’t get the timing of it is all… I don’t think the Front Office is in tune to the need to make one big push for another SB run while they have a stud QB…. I don’t think NE is either to be honest… Denver gets it..

          • SDAZT_STEEL

            The sad part is that this is a 4-6 win team without Roethlisberger when one looks at the options behind him on the depth chart. I will also add that $44 mil center means squat without a franchise quarterback to take the snaps from him.

            I won’t worry too much about an extension for BB at the moment though. There’s no conceivable way that the FO can believe the team has a shot to stay competitive without him (Gradkowski & Jones taking snaps makes me shudder).

          • ApexSteel

            Denver is mortgaging their future because they know Peyton has one or two seasons left. Their team is going to be financially crippled in a couple of years. That’s not smart team building, that’s father time driving them to the point of desperation.

          • bk

            How many years do you think Ben has left? As much as he gets hit it could be measured in games not years. Would you trade 1 more SB win with him for 3-4 years of rebuilding? What do you think the odds are of the Steelers winning one without him? QB’s like him come around once in a great while and seeing the draft history of the current FO, I don’t like the odds of them getting a replacement anytime soon.

          • ApexSteel

            Are you serious? You have to be joking. If they didn’t think Ben had at least 5 more good years they wouldn’t be trying to extend him. So no I wouldn’t the team to put themselves in salary cap hell to build a team full of players who MIGHT help us win because people like you would complain their asses off for those 3-4 years anyway. I’d rather us stay the course and develop players like we’ve been doing. Then a few years down the road draft his replacement. You’re one of those Steeler fans that just doesn’t understand that THEY CAN’T WIN THE SUPER BOWL EVERY YEAR. Believe me they’ve tried.

        • ApexSteel

          The point is that there wasn’t money wasted regardless. Technically they have more money to spend that we all know will not be spent on Brandon Flowers. Roethlisberger will more than likely be extended next season anyway because it’s in the best interest of both him and the team.

  • Kimmy

    I don’t really get why so much of a big deal is being made over Ben’s contract at this point. I just don’t see why when all signs from both he and the Rooney’s are pointing to an extension eventually happening are so many people getting offended on Ben’s behalf whenever anyone is signed to a contract extension that’s not Roethlisberger.
    When it comes to Pouncey not being a leader in the locker room, you’re really saying that in spite of the comments coming from his actual teammates praising his leadership on the team that his immature tweets from 3 years ago and a stupid picture with a tasteless hat on from last summer trumps what actually goes on in the locker room or the field?


    On one hand, it is nice that Pittsburgh inked their second-best offensive lineman to an extension. I’m also intrigued to see how well Pouncey’s skill-set translates to the zone-blocking scheme under Munchak.

    However, it is highly questionable to see a team with so many needs and pending FAs spend the type of coin, particularly the guaranteed signing bonus, on an interior offensive lineman who has not played a quarter of regular season football since December of 2012.

    Plus, who is to say Pouncey’s value would have been even higher than it is now next season? Also, name me the last team to win a Super Bowl in the salary cap era where the center was earning the type of guaranteed money (in comparison to his teammates) as Pouncey is? Moreover,

    How or why Roethlisberger is not priority number one for Pittsburgh at the moment is a definite shock to me. I just hope BB is extended, because a 44 million dollar center is worthless without a franchise quarterback.

    I certainly don’t dislike this deal as much as I did Woodley’s idiotic extension, particularly because of the Munchak & ZBS factor. I’m just crossing my fingers that BB is the next one to be signed and I am extremely intrigued to see if Pouncey can live up to the type of lofty expectations which come with the type of deal he earned.