There’s been quite a bit of talk so far this offseason about the Pittsburgh Steelers giving new contracts to wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell in the coming weeks and with good reason. However, what seems to be forgotten is the fact that another key player is more than likely to receive a contract extension prior to the start of the 2017 regular season. That player is none other than defensive end Stephon Tuitt.
Tuitt, who was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame, will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in a few weeks and because of that is prime to receive an extension. The defensive end has played in 44 regular season games since being drafted and has registered 108 total tackles and 11.5 sacks to go along with three forced fumbles and an interception.
I’ve already read several fans of the team suggesting that Tuitt should have to wait another year before receiving a long-term deal, but that’s not likely to happen as the Steelers would be forced to place the franchise tag on him to keep him from hitting free agency a little over a year from now. In case you’re curious, the franchise tag this year for defensive ends is projected to be almost $17 million and thus you can easily speculate that number will increase a year from now.
So, how much is Tuitt currently worth? That’s a tough question to answer but I will speculate he’ll want to be paid around $8.5-$9 million per season at the very least and that would be a little less than fellow Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward earns on average after he signed a a five-year contract extension that included $52.281 million in new money in July of 2015.
With Tuitt about to turn 24 in a few more months, it would make sense for the Steelers to sign him to a five-year extension just as they did with Heyward with his new money coming in at around $42.5-$45 million.
As we already know, the Steelers will be busy working on new deals for Brown and Bell from now until July 15. Additionally, the team will also probably continue to work on re-signing a few of their players who will become unrestricted free agents on March 9, the start of the 2017 league year. In short, Tuitt will more than likely have to wait for his new contract until the team arrives in Latrobe for training camp, but rest assured he’s likely going to get one before the 2017 regular season commences.