The Pittsburgh Steelers last week signed Maurkice Pouncey to a contract making him the highest paid center in the NFL.
Pouncey's deal is worth an average of $8.77 million a year. Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood last September signed a contract extension worth $6.35 million a year. Could Wood have made more if he played out the deal? Probably a little. But his deal is falling in sensible line with the NFL's center market a year after its signing.
Wood's deal was third best in the NFL at the time he signed it. Now it's sixth best in the league.
Pouncey, still only 24 years old, is a three-time Pro Bowler and a one-time first-team NFL All-Pro. Wood, who turned 28 in March, has no Pro Bowls or All-Pros to his name.
Second on the center pay list is Alex Mack, signed this spring to a deal worth $8.4 million a year. Mack, 28, is a two-time Pro Bowler, and his deal came after his contract had run out. Third is Carolina's Ryan Kalil, a four-time Pro Bowler, at $8.18 million. Fourth is the Jets' Nick Mangold, a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, at $7.75 million. Fifth is Seattle's Max Unger, two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All Pro, at $6.45 million. He signed his deal in 2012.
Wood got more guaranteed money ($14.5 million) than Unger ($11.5 million) or Houston's Chris Myers ($14 million). Myers is a two-time Pro Bowler who averages $6.25 million. By signing before last year, Wood also got significant security. If he had been hurt during last season, he likely would not have received such a lucrative deal in free agency this spring.
There are a lot of good centers in the AFC. The Bills will have to win a lot more games for Wood to have a good chance to gain all-star honors.