The Pittsburgh Steelers now have less than three weeks remaining before their 2020 regular season gets underway and that means less than three weeks to get deals done with any players they might want to extend or restructure. On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert talked to the media via a Zoom session and as expected, he was asked about defensive captain Cameron Heyward potentially signing a contract extension prior to the start of the regular season.
“We never have or will talk about an individual negotiation,” Colbert said, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “We are always looking at where we are, where we want to be. Not just in 2020, but beyond. That is a big unknown. We don’t know what we are dealing with for future caps.”
Well, Colbert certainly didn’t lead us one way or the other when it comes to Heyward and a potential contract extension so there’s that. He did say on Wednesday, however, that the team currently has no plans to alter their longstanding of not doing contract negotiations once the regular season gets underway.
“We haven’t talked about amending our policy,” Colbert said, according to Brooke Pryor of espn.com. “That’s an organizational policy that’s been in place for a lot of years. I don’t anticipate that changing. We’ll continue to look at situations and if one makes sense, we’ll do it.”
In short, if players such as Heyward or wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster aren’t signed to contract extensions ahead of the 2020 regular season getting underway, odds will then be good that no negotiations of any kind will take place until after the season ends.
Had this been a normal offseason and had future NFL salary cap numbers not stood a chance at being impacted by the ongoing pandemic, the Steelers probably would have had Heyward already signed to an extension. While there is still plenty of time to get Heyward signed to an extension prior to the start of the 2020 regular season, such a deal, if it were to get done, probably wouldn’t come together until the last minute.
Once again, it’s important to remind everyone that the Steelers will have to do something cap-wise in the next 18 days as they will need in-season space after the 52nd and 53rd roster spots are filled and a 16-man practice squad is created.
The team currently has roughly $4 million in 2020 salary cap space, but most of that is spoken for already. In short, at least one restructure is likely on the way to free up some additional salary cap space. Additionally, a Heyward contract extension, should it get done, would also likely result in a small amount of 2020 salary cap space bring created.