Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers reach 5-year contract extension with $13 million signing bonus

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Pittsburgh has paid its star center, showing him serious admiration with a massive contract.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made Maurkice Pouncey the highest-paid center in NFL history with a five-year extension worth just upwards of $44 million, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The signing bonus was a tidy $13 million.

Pouncey is now on a deal of six years and $48 million in total after coupling the extension with the last year of his rookie deal. Pittsburgh is showing great faith in Pouncey's health despite the former 2010 first-round pick coming off a torn ACL suffered in the season-opener last year against the Tennessee Titans.

Pouncey has enjoyed a terrific career to this point, with three All-Pro selections and a trio of Pro Bowls under his belt. Over at SB Nation's Behind The Steel Curtain, Neal Coolong takes a curious view of the signing:

The signing comes as something of a surprise, considering Pouncey's injury history, as well as the team's cap space heading into the 2015 season. However, Pouncey turns 25 at the start of training camp, and despite a somewhat checkered injury history, has the athleticism to make the Steelers' anticipated zone-running scheme one of the best in the NFL.

With an average salary of $8 million, Pouncey ranks third among interior linemen behind Carl Nicks ($9.5M), Logan Mankins ($8.5M) and Jahri Evans ($8.1M), per Spotrac. Going only by the extension numbers, Pouncey would rank second of this group at $8.8M per season and the highest-paid center. Alex Mack of the Cleveland Browns sits right behind Pouncey at $8.4M per year after inking a new deal this offseason.

Compared to left tackles, Pouncey would still be in the top 10 in average salary, barely ranking behind Duane Brown ($8.9M) and ahead of Jake Long ($8.5M) for ninth-highest. Pouncey would easily be the highest-paid right tackle, with Gosder Cherilus sitting atop the list at $7M per year.

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