Steelers sign tackle Gilbert to $30 million deal
Right tackle Marcus Gilbert is a reliable starter on what Ben Roethlisberger says could be the best offensive line he has had in his career. The Steelers apparently want to keep it together.
Gilbert on Tuesday signed a $30 million, six-year contract through the 2019 season, meaning all the starting offensive linemen are signed through 2015. The deal includes a $7.65 million signing bonus.
Gilbert, who has started 34 of the Steelers' last 36 games, follows three-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey in agreeing to a new contract. Pouncey signed a $48 million, six-year deal in June.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum and right guard David DeCastro are playing under their rookie contracts and are signed through 2015, as is left guard Ramon Foster, who agreed to a three-year deal in 2013.
The Steelers put off negotiating a new contract with Roethlisberger until next year, partly because team president Art Rooney II wanted to work on deals with some prospective 2015 free agents.
They have since signed Gilbert and kicker Shaun Suisham, who reached terms on a $12 million extension that included a $2.85 million signing bonus.
Gilbert, a second-round pick from Florida in 2011, moved into the lineup during his rookie season and started 11 games. He was the only Steelers offensive lineman to start all 16 games last season, when Pro Football Focus graded him 26th among the NFL's top 136 offensive tackles.
Now that the Steelers have decided Gilbert is their long-term starter at right tackle, it raises questions about the extended status of another former second-round pick, Mike Adams.
Adams started part of the 2013 season at right tackle after Gilbert was hurt and began last season as the starting left tackle. But he lost that job to Beachum after allowing 3 1⁄2 sacks against the Vikings in Week 4, and he has been a backup since.
Adams, who is signed through 2015, did not push Gilbert to start at right tackle during training camp and, according to offensive line coach Mike Munchak, is competing with veteran tackle Guy Whimper for the swing tackle's position.