UPDATE AGAIN: According to Ed Bouchette, this overwrites Allen’s 2014 contract. It is officially a five-year deal, still ending in 2018. The entirety of the contract is still worth $26 million.
CONFUSING TERMINOLOGY UPDATE: Allen was already under contract for 2014. Four years were added to that, so he is under contract for the next five seasons.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport (I know, I know), the Steelers have agreed to terms with DB Cortez Allen on a four-year, $26 million contract extension. That’s a pretty huge move the night before the season.
For one thing, Allen is not well established. He has played in enough games and made a few plays here and there, and the Steelers were presumably going to rely on him as their nickel corner this year, behind William Gay and what’s left of Ike Taylor. That’s a curious position to suddenly commit a bunch of money to.
The other side of this story is that the Steelers desperately need cornerbacks they can rely on. Ike’s days are numbered and William Gay is adequate. They had a guy they were grooming in Keenan Lewis, but they let him get to free agency and he left for New Orleans. Cortez Allen may or may not turn out to be a viable, long-term starter at his position, but the Steelers just can’t risk losing another young cornerback.
This is going to be a deal that is either so good that we don’t think about it, or a disaster. We’ll know in about two years or so for sure.