Thursday, June 12, 2014

Maurkice Pouncey Leads List Of Steelers Signings - Was It The Right Move?

Contracts are being signed on the South Side. 

On Monday, June 9, fourth-round draft pick Martavis Bryant signed his rookie contract - a four-year deal worth $2,659,220, with a signing bonus of $109,805. 

The 6'4", 211-pound Clemson product "appeared in 37 games with 13 starts" in college, "registering 61 receptions for 1,354 yards with 13 receiving touchdowns. Bryant’s career 22.2 yards per reception average is an NCAA FBS record, an ACC record and a school record, and his 13 receiving touchdowns are the 10th-best total in school history." - http://tinyurl.com/ln44ry2

ESPN's Field Yates has now also reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed 3rd-round running back Dri Archer, though terms have yet to be disclosed. At the time of writing this, Stephon Tuitt remains the only draft pick left unsigned. 

But the news that has social media buzzing is the signing of former All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey. 

Per Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette, Pouncey's new deal, a 5-year, $44 million extension at its base, is a "6-yr, $48 M deal" that "includes total bonuses of $20.25 M, $13 M for signing..."

At the Steelers press conference announcing the extension, Pouncey said "It seems like five years all over again...I'm excited for this new adventure."

As mentioned, the deal pays Pouncey a signing bonus of $13 million. That’s more than the signing bonus paid last week to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The guaranteed money is about half of what Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack (5 years, $42, $26M reportedly guaranteed) received, but the new money he’s receiving makes him the highest paid center at $8.8 million per year (Mack is at $8.4M). - http://t.co/XFb0Acn2ZI/s/j4lm 

The real money in the contract is three years and a total of $26.5 million. Pouncey will also get $17.75M next year and $23M in 2016 per whatever provisos are set forth in the terms. 

Bouchette also said that the Salary Cap hit would be $3.6M, but OverTheCap.com has it at $5.514M. If Over The Cap is correct, the Steelers sit at $6.36M under their Cap with regard to the Rule of 51 numbers. 

Regardless of the particulars, Pouncey is very happy with his new deal. He said that free agency was "never on my mind." Especially after his injury last season, walking was his main priority. - http://tinyurl.com/oys5nyw

"It's really unbelievable. I'm so thankful for this moment right now," said a Pouncey when speaking on the loyalty the organization showed him after being injured again last season. "I am so thankful for this moment right now. It's really awesome....I'm just glad to be a Pittsburgh Steeler."

Loyalty that is well deserved. 

Despite what I may have said on social media Thursday morning, or how I may have been misconstrued, the signing of Pouncey was a must. It was the right move. Once I saw the real numbers also, after having flashes of LaMarr Woodley go through my head, I was completely in agreement with the contract. 

If you just go by statistics and listen to the "he's always injured" crowd, it could be easy to knock Pouncey. The truth is that Pouncey was on the field more than any other offensive lineman. 

Per a stat offered up by the Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib), "Pouncey played in 86% Steelers snaps first 3 yrs (not counting freak injury last yr). To compare, next highest OL is Foster at 77% over 4 yrs."

Pouncey is just 24-years old and was an All-Pro and a Pro Bowler in his first three NFL seasons. Though he has never been higher than 12th in Pro Football Focus' center grades, the game isn't played on paper. 

Pouncey is strong and very athletic for his size. Though he has been handled at times by a couple of the behemoth-like nose tackles in the league, he still holds his in that instance. But, to be blunt, he would be pretty damn good in the outside zone and the other things OLine coach Mike Munchak has in store. 

Feisty, mobile and respected, he's a true leader to his peers - his teammates named him an offensive captain at just 24 years old. 

Respected by teammates as well as ownership. A teary-eyed Pouncey hugged Dan Rooney after the brief press conference.

"There's a lot of love here." 

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TIDBITS: Steelers using Ryan Shazier all over the field - http://t.co/y1Z2yasXVz/s/8icA 

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"@MarkKaboly_Trib: #Steelers' Will Johnson is working at fullback and at tight end. Tomlin said he is goes to both RB & TE meetings" - #WVU

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"@MarkKaboly_Trib: #Steelers fans are going to have to get used to a lot of inside handoffs to Dri Archer from the shotgun in the red zone."