2016 South Side Questions: Is The Checkbook Closed For The Year?

The preseason has ended, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are 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 and the preseason 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 the offseason 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 and beyond 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: Did the Steelers’ checkbook close with the signing of David DeCastro to a new extension?

Today is Friday, and the Steelers play their first game on Monday. They just got their big offseason deal in extending David DeCastro out of the way, but they still have three full days plus until the night game on Monday if they want to get anything done with anybody else on their roster.

The team entered the offseason with a number of candidates on deck with whom it would have made sense to get something done financially. Obviously running back Le’Veon Bell was the big fish on the hook outside of DeCastro, but it goes without saying that that path has taken a bit of a detour.

Given Bell’s three-game suspension, and the fact that he has still only had limited testing on his knee, it would seem unlikely at this point that the Steelers have any intention of working out a contract with their All-Pro running back within the next few days, which means it will otherwise have to wait until March.

The team has several players on their rookie contracts entering the final year of their deals. They went ahead and took care of one of them by giving Vince Williams a new three-year contract. Most have concluded that that means no extension will be given to Lawrence Timmons before the season, although, as with Bell, it is still a possibility.

The only other real candidate for an extension at this point would be Markus Wheaton, who has been a primary starter for the most part for the past two seasons, and he saw some meaningful growth in his game toward the end of last season.

Still, the Steelers have other options at wide receiver, and will have to command significant money in Antonio Brown’s direction next year, so it seems more likely than not that Wheaton will be testing free agency, and likely finding a more lucrative suitor.

There are still a few days left, however, and DeCastro’s deal seemed to develop quickly after his agent was done working out Drew Brees’ new contract. With that out of the way, could they be looking to move some more money around?

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