Digging Deeper Into A Fair Contract Extension For Steelers CB Cortez Allen

With the contract extension for Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey now out of the way, the team can now turn their attention to a few other players that are entering the final year of their rookie contracts.

One of those players could be cornerback Cortez Allen, but it’s tough to find comparisons to the former fourth-round draft pick.

I think we will all agree that Allen has yet to show enough to earn the same kind of money that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave this past offseason to cornerback Alterraun Verner. Verner, who was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft, signed a four-year, $25.5 million contract this past offseason that included only $8 million in guarantees.

The interesting thing about Verner’s contract is that he didn’t receive a signing bonus as part of that deal. Instead, the Buccaneers gave him a $5 million base salary and a $3 million roster bonus.

Moving past Verner, it’s also hard to see the Steelers giving Allen a contract similar to the one given last offseason to former Pittsburgh cornerback Keenan Lewis by the New Orleans Saints. Lewis received a five-year, $25.5 million contract from the Saints last year that included $10.5 million guaranteed of which $6 million was a signing bonus. The other $4.5 million in guarantees given to Lewis came in the form of his 2013 and 2014 base salaries.

Now that we have a few high-side comparatives, it’s really hard to find any recent low-end comparatives for Allen.

The New York Giants gave free agent cornerback Walter Thurmond a one-year contract worth $3 million this past offseason, so I suppose we can include that. The former Seattle Seahawks draft pick has played a total of 1,230 defensive snaps during his first four seasons in the league.

In addition to Thurmond, the Philadelphia Eagles gave free agent cornerback Nolan Carroll a two-year, $5.25 million contract this past offseason. That contract, however, reportedly includes additional money that Carroll can earn through incentives.

So what’s the high-end for Allen when it comes to average yearly value? $4 million? I had previously thrown out a number of $2.5 million for Allen, but will admit that number likely won’t get a deal done.

Would a five-year, $20 million contract (four-year extension) with $9 million guaranteed get the job done? If $6 million of that were given as a signing bonus and one million given as a guaranteed base salary in 2014, that would result in Allen’s 2014 cap charge being $2,297,875.00, which would be just $769,000 more than it’s already scheduled to be. An additional $2 million base salary in 2015 could also be guaranteed to round out the $9 million number.

A contract laid out like above would be fair for both sides and also very manageable from a salary cap standpoint as Allen’s cap charge in 2015 would only be $3.2 million.