The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others—some already decided, some not.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor was re-signed, but Trai Turner was not. James Daniels and Mason Cole were added in free agency.
These are the sorts of topics 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. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Would the Steelers under Omar Khan as general manager be willing to negotiate contracts in-season?
Even if Omar Khan has spent the last couple of decades honing his skills under the watch of Kevin Colbert, nobody ever said that he was going to do things exactly the same way in all senses. Even Eric DeCosta in Baltimore, who spent many years similarly as the protégé of Ozzie Newsome, tends to do things a bit differently.
Perhaps we’re reading too much into the timeline, but the Steelers getting Minkah Fitzpatrick’s deal done so comparatively early, when they very rarely have much contract movement, certainly made people take notice. The question is, how much further might things go—and on what timeline?
Back last month, Khan did seem to imply that he might not push it as far as holding contract negotiations in-season, even though it’s something many other teams do. But he didn’t outright say it, either. And they recently broke their precedent of not guaranteeing money beyond year two of contracts, having now done it two years in a row.
Chances are pretty good this question won’t even be relevant this season. Chris Boswell will almost surely get a deal done with relative ease. Diontae Johnson, many feel, isn’t going to get a deal done at all this summer.
But there are certainly times in the past in which the Steelers probably would have liked to have had the opportunity to hammer things out that weren’t quite finished. The Ravens, again, are a team that has been much more flexible with in-season negotiations under DeCosta. Could Khan eventually, over time as he finds his voice as the leader of the front office, ultimately relent on this principle, if the situation were to call for it?