PITTSBURGH — Left guard Chris Kemoeatu turned down an offer from the New York Jets and re-signed yesterday with the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, who would have been depleted on the offensive line without him.
Kemoeatu's contract is worth $20 million over five seasons and pays him a signing bonus of nearly $4 million, which is believed to be less than the Jets were offering. Nearly $6 million is guaranteed to Kemoeatu, a Kahuku High and Utah alum, who started only two games during his first three Steelers seasons from 2005-07.
The Steelers released former starting right guard Kendall Simmons on Thursday. Losing Kemoeatu — who helped them win a Super Bowl in his first season as a starter — would have left them with former undrafted free agent Darnell Stapleton as their only experienced guard. Stapleton also was a first-year starter last season.
The Jets wanted Kemoeatu as the replacement for right guard Brandon Moore, but Kemoeatu preferred to stay with a team that has a chance to win a third Super Bowl in five years.
Last year, the Jets signed longtime All-Pro guard Alan Faneca from the Steelers, creating a starting job for Kemoeatu in his fourth season in Pittsburgh.
Kemoeatu's contract is the same length as the $24 million, five-year deal Simmons signed in August 2007, only 18 months before Pittsburgh released him.
Simmons' contract included a $7.85 million signing bonus, of which the remaining $4.71 million will count against the Steelers' 2009 salary cap.