The Steelers have locked Maurkice Pouncey to a rich five-year extension. NFL contracts are very confusing, but the deal is $44 million over five years and paid the center a $13 million signing bonus. There was a lot of gnashing of teeth over Alex Mack’s money and he wasn’t coming off of an ACL tear. Mack’s deal had no signing bonus, but was fully guaranteed salary for the first two years totaling $18 million.
Amazingly, the new money exceeds the package paid earlier this year by the Browns to center Alex Mack. Mack had signed a five-year, $42 million offer sheet in Jacksonville, which the Browns matched. Maurkice Pouncey’s $44 million over five comes roughly nine months after tearing an ACL — and with a full year left on his rookie deal.
I don’t get the feeling that Alex Mack is the kind of guy who is worried about being “the highest paid center in the NFL” but even he might admit in a private moment that it was a hell of a short run for him with that title belt. For the Browns, it seems to be something of a validation of their process and decision to ultimately sign Alex Mack to the offer sheet the Jags constructed. As the league’s salary cap continues to grow, it’s hard to figure out all the proper efficiencies to signing players and how much to spend on various position groups on the roster to give yourself the best chance to win.
Let’s hope the Browns are on to something with the amount of money they are committing to their offensive line. Although, that would mean the Steelers are, too, with their new deal for Maurkice Pouncey.