Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette floated the idea of giving an extension for Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey as the fourth-year former All-Pro player faces a $2.75 million roster bonus, likely due in March (we were unable to confirm the date on which that bonus is required to be paid).
If it hasn't yet been paid - a reasonable assumption, considering the start of the league year isn't until 4 p.m. March 11 - negotiating a long-term deal with Pouncey makes sense. First, it could potentially reduce that $2.75 lump sum payment, and second, Pouncey may be available for a bit less now than he otherwise would have been before a knee injury cost him basically all of the 2013 season.
Not to suggest Pouncey will be desperate to take whatever he'd be given. He could, however, get twice what he's owed for 2014 up front before even setting foot on the field to prove he's fully healthy.
At the same time, Pouncey will likely be looking long and hard at the extension situation of Browns center Alex Mack as a means of determining his long-term value. Mack was given the transition tag by the Cleveland Browns, and, unlike Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds, intends to explore his options in free agency. Teams can sign Mack to an offer sheet, and the Browns have the right to match it, but would receive no compensation should they decline to match it.
Considering both Pouncey and Mack are two of the better centers in the NFL, it makes sense one would go off what the other is getting. Between Pouncey and the Steelers, both have something to gain from an extension - the Steelers could shave down their salary cap number a bit for this year as well as make a little more clear their future roster beyond this season. Keep in mind, they made Pouncey a captain last year, so there's obviously some feeling of him as a leader within the organization. For Pouncey, he'd get new money as well as more long-term security, even if it won't be for top dollar on the market - a market he won't be able to explore until next year anyway.
Other moves will be made by the team at some point between now and 4 p.m. Tuesday. We'll know a lot more about their intentions as the day continues.