Steelers’ Cameron Heyward Addresses Upcoming OTA Absence

A number of veterans around the NFL are set to miss OTAs as they aim to land new contracts. That group includes Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, who will be absent from the team during upcoming OTAs.

The three-time All-Pro is under contract for one more year with his $65.6MM 2020 extension set to expire. Heyward admitted in January that he needed time to evaluate his future, but he is now committed to continuing his decorated career. As a result, he is angling for an extension while missing voluntary workouts.

When speaking about his situation on his Not Just Football podcast, Heyward said, “[I] have always attended these, but at this time it’s just contract negotiations, and I want to be a Pittsburgh Steeler, but we’ll see what happens” (h/t ESPN’s Brooke Pryor).

Heyward, 35, has spent his entire 13-year career in Pittsburgh, establishing himself as one of the league’s top interior defenders over that span. He racked up six straight Pro Bowls from 2017-22, but last season he was limited to just 11 regular season games due to a groin injury. The Ohio State product – who was healthy in time for the Steelers’ wild-card game – had avoided lengthy absences each season since 2016 prior to his missed time in 2023.

With just two sacks, this past campaign was Heyward’s least productive year since his rookie campaign from a pass rush perspective. He has reached double-digit sacks three times in his career, though, including the 2021 and ’22 seasons. A return to health could once again provide the team with a multitude of options at the defensive tackle spot, and an extension would likely lower Heyward’s 2024 cap hit ($22.4MM).

In Heyward’s absence, the Steelers’ OTAs will include veterans Larry Ogunjobi, Montravius Adams and Dean Lowry along the D-line. Pittsburgh has also invested at the position in the draft in recent seasons with the selections of DeMarvin Leal (2022), Keeanu Benton (2023) and Logan Lee (2024). The latter three will be in the team’s long-term plans, and it will be interesting to see if the same winds up being the case for Heyward.

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