For nine years and two Super Bowls, Ray Mansfield anchored the center of the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line. Mike Webster took up the call for another 13 years 2 Super Bowls and 1 Hall of Fame induction. After that, the duty fell to Dermontti Dawson for the next 12 years. Finally, Jeff Hartings did the honors for 6 more years and another Super Bowl.
- Since 2010 that responsibility has fallen to Maurkice Pouncey and after today, at least on paper, he’ll carry that burden for another 6 years.
June first’s arrival not only brought OTA’s to the South Side but also money freed up by LaMarr Woodley’s release. The question of “What will the Steelers” do with their salary cap largesse has been on the minds of everyone in Steelers Nation.
- Will they bring back Brett Keisel? What about James Harrison? Maybe give Fernando Velasco or LaRod Stephens-Howling?
At this point, the answer is “None of the above,” as the Steelers are focusing on resigining their own, after inking Maurkice Pouncey to a 6 year 48 million dollar deal, that reportedly includes a 9 year signing bonus.
Maurkice Pouncey was one player that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert fell in love with at the 2010 NFL scouting combine, so much that Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had no compunction or reservation in saying he was the Steelers pick right then and there.
Pouncey did not disappoint, becoming the first rookie to start for the Steelers in the Mike Tomlin era, capping the season off with a Pro Bowl appearance followed by two more.
With Pouncey resigned, attention will immediately shift to who is next. Dale Lolley suggests it will be Cortez Allen, who is entering the final year of his contract and the Steelers likely have no wish to repeat what happened with Keenan Lewis.
Ben Roethlisberger might also be a possibility, given the current escalation of quarterback contracts, but that is a far more complicated contract to negotiate.
Nonetheless, although the deal makes Pouncey the NFL’s highest paid center, it actually gives the Steelers some short term salary cap relief, given them greater flexibility.