Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey has seemingly recovered from the knee injury that he suffered last year in the season-opener and now the former first-round draft pick enters the final year of his rookie contract not knowing whether or not he’ll get an extension worked out prior to the start of the 2014 regular season.
“If Mr. Rooney blesses me, it will be a dream come true,” Pouncey told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Tuesday “I want to stay in Pittsburgh my whole career, and it’s on them, man.”
When the calendar flipped over to June, the Steelers gained nearly $8 million in salary cap space due to the early offseason release of linebacker LaMarr Woodley finally becoming official. While some of that money, roughly $1.7 million, will need to go towards signing the Steelers top four draft picks, the team should have enough cap space to get a few extensions done prior to the start of the regular season.
Cornerback Cortez Allen is likely one player that the Steelers would like to get extended with Pouncey also likely being on the list that could also include quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and linebacker Jason Worilds.
As far as Pouncey’s market value goes, that’s really up for discussion. Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack signed a five year contract worth $42 million, with $18 million fully guaranteed during the offseason, but he hasn’t missed a game since coming into the league.
Pouncey, on the other hand, has missed 18 regular season games in addition to Super Bowl XLV during his first four years in the league and he’s coming off of a serious knee injury. Pouncey is, however, a three-time All-Pro center and you can bet his agent will make sure that is noted often during the negotiation process.
The start of the 2014 season is now roughly 90 days away, so there’s plenty of time for things to be worked out. The serious extensions talks aren’t expected to happen until the team reports to training camp in late July. For now, Pouncey doesn’t appear to be worried about things.
“I’m here every day working, there’s loyalty with them and I think they’ll do the right thing,” he said. “But it’s not even on my mind right now.”