Training camp has ended, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have reverted back to taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While training camp might have seen a lot of work put into the team and the roster, there is plenty left to be done.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well, since training camp is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is really one that lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the preseason looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they head into a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Question: When will David DeCastro’s new contract get finished?
This was a topic that I weighed writing about yesterday, and perhaps I should have, with consideration of the fact that he evidently told reporters yesterday that nothing has changed on the contract front. Though that does not mean that a deal is unlikely to be completed before the season starts, it does at least raise an eyebrow as to why it has not gotten done as of yet.
While the fifth-year option for first-round draft picks is still a fairly recent phenomenon—this is only the second season in which former first-round picks would be eligible to be playing in their option years, with 2011 being the first year the option began—I will note that their last deal was done by now.
In fact, the contract extension with Cameron Heyward in 2015 was finalized and signed on the 16th of July, which was more than a week prior to them even opening training camp. In general, they have gotten the majority of their high-profile extensions that were well within the planning leading into training camp, or soon thereafter.
The fact that DeCastro went from never making the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons—injury-laden though his rookie year may have been—to first-team All-Pro certainly did not make the contract negotiations any simpler, but his honor was not without merit, and it is a good problem to have, signing an All-Pro guard to pair with your All-Pro center.
In truth, I do not hold out much concern that a deal will be done between now and the start of the season. I recall one season not too long ago, in fact, when they completed a deal or two on the team flight out before their first game of the season.
Still, one may reflect on and wonder, if not why a deal has not yet been reached, then simply when that will happen. It does not appear to be much of a distraction at all, yet still, I would sooner have it behind us than in front.