We’ve officially reached peak offseason content in the middle of the dog days of summer ahead of training camps opening across the NFL.
Some of you reading this are probably thinking I’m a bit late in the calendar coming to this realization, but on Tuesday CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin dropped his Top 30 players in the NFL 30 year and older rankings, and well, that’s some offseason content for you.
Fortunately for the Steelers, it’s a relatively young roster overall with just four players over the age of 30 currently (Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Chris Boswell, Chaz Green). Despite getting up there in age, at least from a football perspective, Heyward continues to play at a phenomenally high level.
Coming off of yet another First Team All-Pro accolade and another Pro Bowl berth, Heyward remains one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. That helped land him at No. 7 overall in Benjamin’s Top 30 players 30 and over rankings, behind the likes of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Donald, Travis Kelce, Russell Wilson and Trent Williams.
“T.J. Watt makes all the splashy moves along Pittsburgh’s spicy front, but Heyward is the engine that makes the whole thing run,” Benjamin writes regarding Heyward’s ranking. “Capable of both plugging holes and disrupting pockets, his game has only escalated since his late 20s.”
Heyward’s game has certainly escalated to impressive heights in recent seasons, leading to five straight Pro Bowl berths and four All-Pro accolades in five seasons.
At 33 years old, Heyward isn’t a graybeard overall, but knowing the position he plays and the amount of snaps he sees, it’s fair to question if he can keep up this phenomenal pace for much longer. Just don’t raise that question with him. Knowing he still has work to do and a championship to chase, Heyward stated during the offseason that he’s aiming to play five more years during an appearance on the Mina Kimes Show.
“I want five more [years],” Heyward said to Kimes, according to audio from the podcast. “If I get five more…my wife might hate me by then, but five more.”
If the Steelers can get another five years out of Heyward like he’s aiming for, that would be a huge win for the franchise, helping the black and gold transition into a new era on both sides of the football.
For now, just appreciate the greatness that Heyward brings on a snap-to-snap basis, let alone week-to-week. He’s certainly one of the best players in the NFL overall, regardless of age.