9:52pm: Heyward will earn $15MM up front in signing/roster bonuses, with $21MM paid over the first eight months, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
8:21pm: The Steelers announced that they have signed Cameron Heyward to a new six-year deal, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter). Heyward, a 2011 first-round pick, was previously due to earn a $6.969MM base salary for the 2015 season. With his new deal, Heyward is now under contract through the 2020 campaign. The deal is worth $59.25MM, according to Bouchette (link).
Last season, Heyward was the first defensive end to lead the Steelers in sacks in a decade as he and the now-retired Jason Worilds tied with 7.5 apiece. The 26-year-old has appeared in every regular season game for the Steelers since his debut in 2011. Over the last two seasons, he has started 29 games for Pittsburgh and racked up a combined 114 tackles and 12.5 sacks.
We’re still waiting for the full breakdown of the deal, but it sounds like the pact is effectively ~$52.28MM in new money for an additional five years. That puts Heyward in the neighborhood of fellow defensive end Cameron Jordan, who added $55MM and five years on to his deal with the Saints last month. While Jordan’s five-year, $55MM extension includes $33MM guaranteed for injury, just $23.96MM of that is fully guaranteed.
Heyward recently told Robert Klemko of The MMQB that he thinks he can play better than he did in 2014, when he ranked as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-best 3-4 defensive end.
“I hope last year wasn’t a breakout season because I think I can achieve way more,” Heyward said. “I still have a mentality where I think of myself as a bust. I’ve got to prove everybody wrong including myself. I want to get better, and I want to shut people up.”