Ensuring the core of their offensive line will remain intact a little while longer, the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday signed center Maurkice Pouncey to a three-year contract and guard Ramon Foster to a two-year deal.
Pouncey had one year left on his contract, and Foster was set to become an unrestricted free agent March 13.
ESPN reported Pouncey will become the NFL’s highest-paid center with his new deal that averages $11 million a year for the 2020-21 seasons. Combined with his $7 million base salary for 2019, Pouncey’s deal would be worth $29 million over three years.
Foster’s two-year contract is worth $8.25 million, NFL Network reported. He had a $2.675 million base salary last season.
— Ramon Foster (@RamonFoster) March 7, 2019
With the deals, the Steelers have five of their starters under contract through 2019. Foster and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva are signed through 2020. Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro are signed through 2021. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert is entering the final year of his deal, and the team tendered backup interior lineman B.J. Finney, a restricted free agent, a $3.095 million contract Thursday.
Next up for an extension is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has one season left on his contract. Team president Art Rooney II and general manager Kevin Colbert have said extending Roethlisberger is a priority, and a new contract is expected to come before the start of the new NFL calendar Wednesday.
Pouncey was scheduled to count $7.951 million against the salary cap this season. He made the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive year last season and for the seventh time in his career. He is a two-time first-team All-Pro and a three-time second-team All-Pro. He has started 46 of 48 games in the past three seasons, missing just two while sitting out the finales of the 2016-17 regular seasons. He has made 108 starts in his career.
In 2018, Foster started all 16 games for the first time in three seasons. A 10-year veteran, Foster has made 131 starts in 146 career appearances with the Steelers.
“It’s awesome to be able to extend my career there, also my family,” Foster told Steelers.com. “It’s always been a second home to us. We are excited. When we started talking we got it done quick because both sides wanted to get it done. It’s definitely a relief.”