PITTSBURGH — The Steelers capped a busy day at team headquarters with big contract extensions for kicker Chris Boswell and linebacker Vince Williams.
The team on Friday announced a five-year deal for Boswell and a four-year deal for Williams. Boswell’s deal is worth nearly $20 million in total and Williams’ contract is right around that number as well, according to a source. The players were a year from free agency, and in both cases, the Steelers kept the 2018 money intact — $2.97 million for Boswell on a restricted tender, $2 million for Williams — while adding future years and a signing bonus.
NFL Network first reported the total value of Boswell’s contract.
Williams has shown significant growth for the Steelers, transitioning from a late-round pick in 2013 and part-time starter to the team’s most productive blitzer and lead inside linebacker in the absence of Ryan Shazier. In 2017, Williams was second on the team with eight sacks and tied for second with 89 tackles.
Maurkice Pouncey usually knows everything about what goes on with the team, but not when it comes to Bell. “He’s kind of kept to himself about it.”
The Steelers upped their spy-prevention game for this year’s practices by putting up four two-story pillars where a tarp can be raised to block the view of one of their fields.
Last offseason, the team signed Williams to a two-year deal with plans for him to replace Lawrence Timmons. A year later, they are signing him again.
Boswell is one of Pittsburgh’s great success stories in recent years. He tried out for the Steelers in October 2015 after they cut Josh Scobee, their third kicker in two months, due to injury and performance. Pittsburgh was desperate for reliability after Shaun Suisham tore his ACL in the preseason. Boswell made 85 of 95 kicks over three seasons, including three game-winners late last season. His 53-yarder to close out a 31-28 win over the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 26, 2017, tied for the longest kick in Heinz Field’s 17-year history.
Boswell and Williams were priorities for the front office after Le’Veon Bell’s long-term deal fell through in July. Bell, guard Ramon Foster and tight end Jesse James are among the Steelers’ scheduled free agents for 2019. In most cases, the Steelers typically like to keep their core, young players intact before they enter the final year of their contracts.