Perhaps Maurkice Pouncey was aware of the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers might at some point approach him this offseason about working out a contract extension. After all, he has been here since 2010 and should know the team works. They work out extensions for almost all of their key players as they head into the final year of their contract.
But if he had that awareness, he was still very surprised that it happened so soon. A couple of days ago, the Steelers announced that they had signed Pouncey to a two-year extension worth $22 million in new money, averaging $11 million per season over that portion. In total, he is under contract for three years through 2021 for $29 million.
Pouncey told the team’s website that “it was so out of the blue”, that he was told by his agent on Wednesday night that the team had expressed interest in doing an extension. By later in that night, there was an offer, but he was asleep, so his agent had to tell him in the morning—the day he would sign.
“I know a lot of people aren’t going to believe that, but honestly it was. It was so out of the blue”, the seven-time Pro Bowler said. “I didn’t expect it at all. It’s not like my agent reached out, or I reached out and asked for it. They wanted to do this from the start and it was amazing. It showed how much faith and belief the organization has in me”.
Over his nine-year career, Pouncey has made the Pro Bowl in every one of his seven healthy seasons. He also made his first trip back to the All-Pro list in 2018 after having missed it since 2014, making him a five-time All-Pro.
A 2010 first-round pick, his first contract extension came in 2014 and added five more years to his deal, the new money portion at the time averaging just under $9 million per season. That price tag reset the center market at the time.
His new-money average of $11 million per season once again resets the market, surpassing the $10.5 million that Ryan Jensen earned in free agency a year ago. Perhaps the Steelers wanted to get his deal done ahead of free agency for fear of a continually increasing market.
“I still don’t know how to think. I don’t know how to approach it”, Pouncey told the team’s website yesterday as he came in, as he always does, for a normal work day. “Everyone is calling me and saying what are you doing. It’s like a normal day. I went to work out this morning. I don’t know. I don’t know how to take it. It’s such a surprise to me”.
The timing was a bit of a surprise, but the deal should trim a bit of cap space once we learn the full details. The Steelers are making room ahead of the start of the new league year—probably getting people’s hopes up for nothing.
Added by Dave Bryan:
Maybe Pouncey getting an extension this early shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at all. After all, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he would push for his center to get a new extension before he signed his.
“They can come to me tomorrow and say we want to get your deal done. I’ll say, ‘Get Pouncey done first.’ That’s only because I want to make sure he’ll be here,” Roethlisberger said in January per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.