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Steelers provide stability, extend Pouncey

Maurkice Pouncey and the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to a five-year extension worth $44 million last week, making him the highest paid center in the NFL.

This extension is coming just nine months after Pouncey suffered an ACL injury, leading many to be surprised by his expensive price tag. However, taking a closer look at the impact of the signing might shed light on why the Steelers made signing Pouncey such a big priority.

Since he was drafted in 2010, Pouncey served as an anchor on Pittsburgh’s offensive line and was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons prior to missing the 2013 season ended early because of an ACL injury.

Throughout his rehabilitation process, the Steelers have had plenty of time to evaluate Pouncey’s recovery and his potential to continue to be an elite blocker.  Given their historical commitment  to a power run offense and winning in the trenches, this organization would suffer without him. While overall value may still be in question, it’s important to remember that a player who been a Pro-Bowl caliber player in three of four seasons has a very high ceiling that could soon further justify that pay.

Another good point is that Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack signed a five year extension worth $42 million after the Browns matched an offer sheet from Jacksonville in April.

Mack’s signing furthers the notion that restricted free agency, as well as free agency, can become very expensive for teams that desire to keep key offensive players. Given his body of work, a great 2014 season would boost Pouncey’s potential salary to an even higher level, possibly too high for the Steelers to afford.

By locking up the leader of their offensive line, the Steelers can provide long term stability for franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and emerging running back Le’Veon Bell as well as many other offensive prospects as they prepare to battle their AFC North competition in the fall.

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