Jason Fitzgerald over at Over the Cap, arguably the best website for contract and cap information, is releasing his grades for the deals handed out during the 2019 offseason. With numbers known for the Steven Nelson signing and Maurkice Pouncey extension, Fitzgerald weighed in with his thoughts on how good of a deal the Pittsburgh Steelers got.
He praised the Steelers for getting the Pouncey deal done for relatively cheap, especially before the center market was reset. From OTC:
“I think this was a shrewd move by the Steelers who may have been worried about what Matt Paradis could land in free agency this week and knew they wanted to make Pouncey the highest paid center in the NFL. This allowed them to make sure they could get in underneath that number. With a $9 million signing bonus this is an easy deal to walk away from in 2021 if they want to do so.”
Pouncey signed a two year, $22 million extension with the team on March 11th. Paradis wound up getting $9 million per year with the Carolina Panthers but it was Mitch Morse who broke the bank, inking a four-year, $44.5 million deal with the Buffalo Bills just three days later. Pouncey is still one of the league’s elite centers and that extension is very reasonable for the value he brings.
However, Fitzgerald felt more mixed on the three year, $25.5 million deal Pittsburgh dished out to cornerback Steven Nelson, the biggest splash they’ve made in free agency.
“I would have thought Nelson would have sat [sic] a few million less than this in part because of that but maybe contracts for the likes of Robert Alford changed that. The Steelers get their usual low guarantee and the first year is a modest $9 million salary.”
He gave the Nelson deal a C grade and that’s largely reasonable. Then again, that’s the market, and there’s essentially a “tax” for any team that has to compete with the rest of the league. It lends itself to overpaying a bit. As he points out, the guarantees are relatively low and by as early as next year, cutting Nelson would create cap savings.
In his evaluation, some of the top free agent contracts included: Dee Ford to the 49ers, Eric Weddle to the Rams, and Devante Parker to the Dolphins.
The two worst? C.J. Mosley to the Jets and Tavon Young’s extension with the Ravens. Both received big fat F’s from Fitzgerald.
While the Steelers have also signed Donte Moncrief and Mark Barron, as of this writing, the full details of their deals haven’t been made public.