All offseason it’s been speculated that the Pittsburgh Steelers will sign kicker Chris Boswell to a long-term contract extension. That business dealing, however, has yet to happen and because of that, several fans of the team seem to be inquisitive as to exactly why.
In his most-recent online chat, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was asked about Boswell and the updated status of his current contract negotiations with the team.
“I can tell you the Steelers want to sign him and have made him an offer for a long time now, but his people keep holding out I’m told,” Dulac responded.
Personally, I’m not overly concerned about Boswell not signing a new deal just yet as I’m still very confident it will get done before the team boards their flight for their regular season opener against the Cleveland Browns.
While Boswell and his representatives could indeed be “holding out” as Dulac reported in his online chat, I can’t imagine the two sides being that far apart. After all, we’re talking about kicker salaries with Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots currently leading the pack with a per year average of $4.3 million. Behind him sits Graham Gano of the Carolina Panthers, who signed a new deal earlier in the offseason.
Assuming the Steelers are already willing to make Boswell one of the league’s top three highest paid kickers, and it’s hard to fathom them not, then the remaining haggling might just be related to the amount of guaranteed money the extension will include and even that shouldn’t be a huge obstacle to overcome, one would think.
Perhaps the Steelers are just wanting to make sure that Boswell makes it through the rest of the preseason healthy and that’s another thing to consider. Remember, the last kicker the Steelers gave a lucrative long-term contract extension to, Shaun Suisham in 2014, effectively had his NFL career come to an abrupt end in the 2015 Hall of Fame game against the Minnesota Vikings thanks to a knee injury he suffered in that ultra-meaningless contest on an ultra-crappy playing field.
Stacked on top of Suisham’s unfortunate injury, the kicker that was immediately signed by the Steelers to replace him, Garrett Hartley, suffered a hamstring injury during the team’s fourth preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. Hartley was then placed on the team’s Reserve/Injured list and veteran kicker Josh Scobee was then acquired via a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars to replace him. We all know how that move ultimately worked out and so does Boswell as he was signed to replace Scobee when he needed to be released four weeks into the regular season.
Personally, I certainly understand why the Steelers might be taking a little extra time to sign Boswell long-term in addition to letting him sit out the team’s second preseason game against the Green Bay Packers so that punter Matt Wile could get a couple of kickoffs and placekicks down on tape.
Regardless of the reason why the Steelers have yet to get Boswell signed long-term, they still have a little more than two weeks left to get that transaction done and I’ll be very shocked if it doesn’t ultimately happen.