The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers work out a long-term contract extension for Cameron Heyward by the start of training camp?
As you have already seen, the Steelers have begun taking major strides in getting their rookie draft class under contract. As of this writing, they have signed four, with only Kevin Dotson and Carlos Davis, two of their final three picks, left to be inked.
Considering the fact that the deadline for a long-term extension with Bud Dupree has already passed, pretty soon the Steelers sole major financial consideration as far as the roster goes will be the completion of a long-term contract extension for Cameron Heyward, who has been the team’s most significant defender of the 2010s.
A first-round pick in 2011, the big man has seemingly improved year to year, and is on a three-year Pro Bowl streak. He has also been named a first-team All-Pro twice during that span while averaging just under 10 sacks per season.
Heyward signed a five-year, $52 million extension in 2015. This is the final year of that deal, during which he will collect $9.5 million in base salary, with a cap hit of over $13 million. When an extension is reached, he will surpass Stephon Tuitt’s $12 million-per-year average extension that he signed in 2017 as the richest per-year defensive contract in team history, by a good margin.