While most of us expecting Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt to sign a new long-term contract extension prior to the start of the 2017 regular season, he might not be the only player the team gets a new deal done with within the next three weeks.
According to a report by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette a few days ago following his talk with Steelers team president Art Rooney II, it’s possible the organization could also work out a long-term deal with kicker Chris Boswell in the next several weeks.
“We’re still open for business in terms of getting things done with players we’d like to get done,” Rooney said. “Stephon is one of them.”
Boswell, who was signed originally by the Steelers on October 3, 2015, was an exclusive rights free agent this past offseason. He is scheduled to earn $615,000 after signing his tender several months ago. Unless he signs a new deal before the start of the regular season, he will be a restricted free agent next offseason.
As I wrote way over a year ago, the Steelers really shouldn’t be in a hurry to sign Boswell long-term. While Boswell’s situation is quite like the one that Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva just went through, the positions played by the two are quite different and especially when it comes to market price.
As mentioned, Boswell is scheduled to be a restricted free agent after the 2017 season and thus a second-round tender might be in play for him if the team doesn’t want to gamble with a right of first refusal tender. This past offseason, a second-round restricted tender came with a $2.746 million price tag and so next offseason that amount will likely be a little more than $3 million. In short, the Steelers could wait and try to sign Boswell to an extension exactly one year from now without any issues whatsoever.
If, however, the team ultimately decides to sign Boswell to a new deal right now, one would think the Rice product wouldn’t get more than $3 million a season. New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski is currently the leagues highest paid at the position at $4,3 million per season.
The Steelers certainly have plenty of salary cap space to work with this year and a new deal for Boswell would barely make a dent in that. The team starts their 2017 regular season three weeks from today so we’ll know by then if Boswell has a new deal or not.