Twitter reacts to Steelers' decision to sign Maurkice Pouncey to extension

Michael Heiman

Everything from his failures in advanced (read: subjective) statistics to the illusion-based value of his individual honors, fans are divided on the Steelers' decision to ink Pouncey to a long-term deal.

Needless to say, lines will be drawn and Steeler Nation will be divided by the five-year contract extension given to center Maurkice Pouncey. That's the general reaction judging from tweets from Steelers fans Thursday. That's about as plain as it gets. There are concerns with the deal. No team has ever paid this much money to a center, and while the $13 million signing bonus spread over the five-year extension would be tough to burden if Pouncey doesn't last that long, he doesn't have guaranteed roster money coming after the first year of the deal. Cleveland's Alex Mack has guaranteed roster salaries in the first three years of his deal. The market defines itself in a way that's different from apparent value. Based on certain things (individual honors like Pro Bowls and All Pro selections, for example), there is evidence supporting the idea Pouncey would get this kind of money if he was on the open market. Mack is an outstanding center, and there are reasons to believe he's a better player today than Pouncey. One thing to remember with Pouncey, though, he's 24 years old right now (turns 25 July 24). The athleticism he has is rare for an offensive lineman, and it seems logical to expect him to continue to improve. There are two sides to this. 1. Things as easy to define as "blown blocks" should serve as a telling indication of how effective a guy paid to block people is. 2. My opinion of a blown block will very likely differ from Mr. Kacsmar's and the good folks at Football Outsiders. As much as we want it to be, advanced statistics do not translate well to the game of football. People have been trying for years to objectify the sport, but every single statistic that comes out will ultimately come down to the subjective combination of statistics and interpretation. This isn't to say Pouncey is one of the best centers who has ever lived, but again, it's only fair to present both sides of this. He's also 24 years old. Outside of seasons on the IR, he's never played a season over the age of 23. It's about where he's going more than where he's been. Therein lies the real risk, not whether Pouncey scored highly in advanced statistics. He's only missed three career games outside the 2013 season, but the injury suffered then isn't one easily healed by the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) Method. He tore the major ligaments of his knee, and quickness and speed are Pouncey's best characteristics. Without those, he wouldn't receive a $44 million contract. Of course, that only goes to show the Steelers believe he still has quickness and speed. With all due respect to Mr. Werder, there are few who follow the Steelers closely who will agree with that statement. It seems, though, there are wide ranges of opinion on this deal, and it will serve as a discussion point for a long time into the future.
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