Following the release of veteran kicker Shaun Suisham by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, it quickly became almost guaranteed that Chris Boswell will be his permanent replacement moving forward. Because of that, a few have asked me if I think the team will extend the contract of Boswell prior to the start of the regular season. The quick answer to that question is, no, and here’s the reasons as to why.
While Boswell is indeed entering the final year of his current contract, he is scheduled to be an exclusive rights free agent at the conclusion of the 2016 season.What that means is that the Steelers will have the right to tender Boswell a one-year, $615,000 contract offer ahead of the 2017 league year which he must accept if he wants to continue playing in the NFL.
Now, what about an extension after the 2017 season when Boswell’s contract expires once again? While there’s a possibility a long term contract extension could happen in 2018, it’s important to remember that Boswell will then be a restricted free agent at that time and once again easily retained with a low right of first refusal tender. It’s hard to predict what the amount of such a restricted tender will be this far out, but it’s worth noting that amount this offseason was $1.671 million.
Should the Steelers choose not to extend Boswell ahead of the 2018 regular season, they will certainly have the right to use their franchise or transition tag on the Rice product in 2019. From there, and assuming Boswell warrants it, a long term extension could possibly be hammered out then.
To summarize, the earliest that Boswell can hope for a contract extension is after the 2017 season and even then he might have to wait another year after that.