Steelers keeping their O-line intact

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers made a significant investment in protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, signing Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and left guard Ramon Foster to new deals Thursday.

Foster was set to become a free agent when the new NFL year begins next week but that’s off the table after the 10-year veteran agreed to a two-year deal that will pay him $8.25 million and lets him stay with the club he’s made 131 starts for since 2009.

Pouncey was entering the final year of the $44 million deal he signed in 2014. The contract he signed Thursday runs through 2021 and will pay him $11 million in 2020 and 2021. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Pouncey has served as the anchor for the offensive line in front of Roethlisberger since 2010.

The signings also clear the way for Pittsburgh to move forward with a new contract for Roethlisberger. The 37-year-old is about to enter the final season of a contract extension he signed in 2015 and the two-time Super Bowl winner believes he can play several more seasons. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said at the combine last week the team has begun talking to Roethlisberger about a new deal that would likely run through 2021.

Roethlisberger has long maintained he plays behind one of the best lines in the league. He’s been sacked 24 times or less in each of the last four seasons and he led the NFL and set a franchise record in 2018 when he passed for 5,129 yards. His 34 passing touchdowns were also a new franchise mark.

Browns shop for DB

CLEVELAND — Free agent cornerback Kevin Johnson is scheduled to meet with the Browns, a person familiar with the visit confirmed to The Associated Press.

Johnson, who was released this week by the Houston Texans, is scheduled to be at the team’s headquarters later this week, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not confirming visits.

The 26-year-old Johnson met with Buffalo on Wednesday.

Johnson only played in Houston’s opener last season before he was placed on injured reserve after sustaining a second concussion. Injures have limited him to just 19 games over the past three seasons.

The Texans selected Johnson with the No. 16 overall pick in 2015. They released him to avoid paying his $9 million salary for 2019.

The Browns want to add depth to their defensive backfield and find a player to pair with Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward.

AP: Denver QB traded

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Case Keenum is on the move again.

The Denver Broncos have agreed to trade the veteran quarterback to the Washington Redskins, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The teams will also swap 2020 draft picks, with Denver receiving a sixth-rounder and Washington a seventh-rounder, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be announced until next week.

Keenum’s contract will be reworked with the Broncos and Redskins each picking up half of the $7 million he was guaranteed in 2019.

The Broncos decided to move on from Keenum last month when they agreed to acquire Super Bowl-winning veteran Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens. Like the Keenum trade, the Flacco trade cannot become official until the start of the league year on March 13.

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