The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for great centers. From Mike Webster to Dermontti Dawson and now to Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers have often had a prolific center under contract. Letting Pouncey walk, barring a ludicrous contract demand, would be a mistake the Steelers can’t make in a league as competitive as the NFL.
The center position is often overlooked, even by those who know just how important it is. The fact of the matter is that the center is one of the most important players on the field. He blocks the fastest way to the quarterback, right up the gut, and is responsible for cleanly getting the ball to the quarterback on every offensive play.
I’m sure the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning wish they had gotten a better performance from their center in last year’s Super Bowl. The impact of messing up as a center is tremendous; they need to be as close to perfect as they can be on every snap.
If a receiver misses a block the result may be a lost play, or it may be irrelevant. If a center misses a block or snaps the ball poorly the result of the play is almost always bad for the offense and also results in game-changing turnovers, such as the first offensive play in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Pouncey is a great player, arguably the best in the league at what he does. Now would be the ideal time to sign him, he’s got a year left on his contract and is coming off major knee surgery. As bad as it sounds, the Steelers should use a businesslike approach here and try to lock him up while his price is still relatively cheap.
The recent contract Alex Mack got will certainly complicate matters, Pouncey will demand the same if not more money than the newly highest-paid center in the NFL.
On the other hand, his signing isn’t about to get cheaper, he really is one of the best in the league and deserves to be paid as such. Hopefully Kevin Colbert can shuffle around the salary cap enough to make room for the latest heir in the line of great Steelers centers.