According to Art Rooney II, linebacker Ryan Shazier’s contract is unlikely to toll, leaving his future with the organization uncertain. Rooney made the comments in his yearly sitdown with Steelers’ beat writers Wednesday afternoon.
Here are the comments according to the Trib’s Joe Rutter.
Art Rooney II doesn't think Ryan Shazier's contract automatically tolls for 2020. "We have to just sit down with Ryan and look at what the next step is going to be. We haven't quite done that yet." Shazier continues to work out at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on a daily basis.
— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) January 15, 2020
Last year, Shazier’s contract had tolled to the following year due to him being in the final year of his contract and placed on Reserve/PUP. An approach we expected would happen again. But for whatever reason contained somewhere in the CBA (maybe the fact it’s expiring has something to do with the change) his contract not tolling means he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent. Tolling his contract allowed him to receive a salary while helping him accrue years to earn an NFL pension once he does retire, whenever that may be.
Rooney didn’t appear to go into possible options with him. The team could sign him to a one-year deal and place him on PUP again if both sides want to maintain status quo, though it’s unknown if he’d be able to pass an NFL physical to make the deal go through. Shazier may have plans of playing again or retiring, he’s always expressed a desire to play but hasn’t commented on his NFL future in awhile.
During his remarkable rehab, he’s worked on the scouting and coaching side of things for the organization. Keith Butler praised his presence in the Steelers’ locker room during the season.
“It’s always good to have somebody who’s played and been in the system, and Ryan probably knows what’s going to come out of my mouth before I say it,” Butler told reporters in early December.
Shazier served as a mentor to Devin Bush and helped him turn in a strong rookie season, becoming the first Steeler in franchise history to record 100+ tackles in year one.
The bottom line is Shazier’s future and plans are unknown but as Rooney said, a topic that will be worked out with the team, not made as a one-sided decision. That’s certainly the right way to go about it.