Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward is busy this week preparing to play in the 2020 Pro bowl in Orlando, FL along with teammates, T.J. Watt, Joe Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick. After the Pro Bowl is over with, however, Heyward will likely take a short break before getting back to work training for the 2020 season. Heyward’s offseason also figures to include him signing another lucrative long-term contract extension as 2020 is currently scheduled to be the final year of the contract he signed back in 2015.
On Thursday, Heyward talked briefly about his contract situation and how he would like to take care of business and be a member of the Steelers for several more years.
I would love to,” Heyward told Missi Matthews of steelers.com. “I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’ve always done right by me. I want to be a Steeler for life and hopefully we can come to an agreement early, later, whatever it needs to be. But I want to be a Steeler I want to be part of this team and I want to be able to hold that Lombardi up for Mr. Rooney.”
It certainly isn’t a surprise that Heyward is preparing to play in his third career Pro Bowl as the former first round draft pick out of Ohio State had another phenomenal season in 2019 that culminated with him registering nine sacks, 83 total tackles, six defensed passes and a forced fumble. He was a quarterback pressure producing machine this past season and showed no signs of slowing down at the age of 30.
So, what did Heyward think about his 2019 season?
“It was a good season,” Heyward told Matthews. “Things I can improve on. But with those challenges, I want to get better. I think 2020 can be a better season for me.”
So, what will happen with Heyward this offseason, contractility?
It’s probably just a matter of when Heyward signs a new long-term contract extension and for how much at this point. Unless Heyward winds up giving the Steelers i little bit of a discount, he’ll be in line to sign a new contract this offseason that could have a new money average of around $18 million per year. After all, Heyward’s 2011 first-round draft classmate, New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, is now making $17.5 million per season thanks to the extension he signed last June.
Heyward is currently set to count $13,251,250 against the Steelers salary cap in 2020 with $3,751,250 of that entrenched as past bonus proration. With the CBA’s 30 percent rule still in play pending the two sides reaching an extension agreement, getting a contract extension done with Heyward that meets cash flow and new money average standards while also lowering his 2020 salary cap charge a few million will be extremely tough to do.
If the Steelers can’t get a deal done with Heyward before the start of the new league year that produces at least $3 million in 2020 salary cap relief, they might as well just hold off until after the start of training camp to get that extension done.
Regardless, there’s reasons to feel confident that by the start of the 2020 regular season that Heyward will have already signed the dotted line once again and thus ensured that he’ll be a Steeler for life.
“I’m looking to get better,” Heyward said on Thursday. “I still think I’m a young guy in this league where I can make a couple of things happen.”