No Recent Contract Talks Between Steelers, Cam Heyward

In March, we heard that the Steelers and star defensive lineman Cameron Heyward were expected to agree to a contract extension “soon.” Over two months later, there has been no movement on that front, as Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes.

While that may not be too surprising given the uncertainty created by COVID-19, Heyward’s tenor suggests that he may be coming to grips with leaving the only team he has ever known. “Man, I hate talking about it in the past tense like I am already gone, but I have to be ready for the reality if that comes about,” Heyward said. “I love being a Pittsburgh Steeler, but if my time is up, my time is up.”

The 31-year-old, who is set to play out the last year of the six-year, $59.2MM pact he signed in 2015, told Kaboly that while there were some early indications that the team would consider a new contract, there has been radio silence ever since. The Steelers could have reached out to him to tell him that the delay was pandemic-related and that they were still going to pursue a re-up once things settled down, but according to Heyward, the team has not communicated with his camp at all.

And as Kaboly observes, Pittsburgh’s policy has been to table contract negotiations once the season gets underway. So if there is no new deal in place by September 14, then Heyward will be eligible for free agency in 2021. If that happens, Kaboly expects the 2011 first-rounder to be playing elsewhere next year.

“We haven’t had any talks as of late, and it may be due to the virus, I don’t know,” Heyward said. “I don’t know if their minds have changed. I understand their policy and respect their policy. If I have to play this year and go into next year as a free agent, then so be it. That’s not going to deter me from being the best teammate, the best person, the best player I can be.” 

Heyward has established himself as the team’s leader in the locker room, and he is easily one of the best D-linemen in the game. Able to line up both inside and outside, he has earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods (including two First Team All-Pro selections) and has averaged nearly 10 sacks per year over the past three seasons. In 2019, he tallied a career-high 83 tackles and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ second-best interior defender (behind only Rams’ superstar Aaron Donald).

He is a critical component of Pittsburgh’s stout defense, so it will be interesting to see if the team does resume extension talks or if the threat of a decreased salary cap in 2021 will compel the Steelers to explore younger, cheaper options.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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10 comments on “No Recent Contract Talks Between Steelers, Cam Heyward

  1. washington_bonercats

    Message to Burrow is a bust: I will not stop until I get your racist ass off this site.

    • wagner13

      Just stop mentioning him. The worst thing you can do with an imbecile like that is give him attention. Ignore it and talk about the sport we all know and love

      • washington_bonercats

        Ignoring racism is kind of why cities across America were on fire.

        • Ak185

          They were on fire because people set them on fire. Ignoring Commies is why McCarthy took over the Senate, ignoring witchcraft is why Salem turned into a courthouse, ignoring heathens is why the Spanish started asking questions, and ignoring Indian raids is why the US Cavalry decided to draw their guns at Wounded Knee.

          The cause is just, but the things you choose to do about it can be wrong or lead to a worse outcome. We’ve seen that in history, how the motivation to do something right can push people to do something wrong. We’ve seen it plenty of times in the past, with people who were just as determined and with causes that seemed worth doing wrong. Eventually you get so detached from the original purpose that it spirals out of control. That doesn’t mean do nothing, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t mean do anything either.

  2. TJECK109

    Cam 31, finishing out contract making him a FA at 32. Not sure what the Steelers may do with that

    • jkoms57

      It’s a long year for many reasons.

      – Bud judgement year
      – Tuitt potential cap casualty
      – Ben’s health
      – Cam’s health
      – JJ Watt potential availability

      Lot of things can happen before next year’s free agency , Steelers are pretty much all-in on 2020

  3. The Ghost of Bobby Bonilla

    I love Cam, but the Steelers’ downslide over the past decade has been directly related to them hanging onto guys a couple years too long and handcuffing themselves with the cap.

    Look no further than Big Ben or Troy. Great Steelers, but hung on a couple years too long.

    • Ak185

      Thing is, even at a hypothetical half capacity, Heyward is still a quality 3-4 lineman, which are increasingly rare in the current environment and one of the team’s biggest leaders (arguably the biggest). Having just lost another starter at DT this past season it would be strange to see them let him walk and then have to replace two starters on the line in one draft.

      Dupree’s re-up shows the Steelers’ commitment to the edge defense, and Heyward is huge in that. As you said, he is getting older, but with the gap at DT and Tuitt needing a deal decision in a couple of seasons, I think a one or two year deal for Heyward is likelier than not. It would be good for them to try and split the D-line renovation into two drafts/offseasons rather than to try and make a decision on Heyward without having certainty inside at DT. I mean, I could be wrong, but there’s not a clear successor on the roster right now, right?

      • jkoms57

        Obviously hes a no brainer for 1 or 2 year deal.

        Problem is theres terrible orgs that offer unadvised contracts on the open market..

        Probably not wise to match a 4 year offer etc

        • Ak185

          I could see that. There is still utility here, and I think Heyward is intelligent and knows the point of his career that he is in now. Two years seems optimal to me, as that would give Pittsburgh time to plan for his replacement and also address the DT position.

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