Steelers At Fork In The Road With Impending Heyward And Beachum Negotiations


One of the Steelers top priorities this off-season was going to center on signing their top players before they entered the final year of their contract.

One might think that signing Ben Roethlisberger to his new five year deal and keeping him a Steeler for the rest of his career would be a big enough check mark to fill that box.

However, there’s not only one but two more signings the Steelers will more than likely consider and deal with during the summer and prior to Week 1 of the 2015 regular season.

Cameron Heyward and Kelvin Beachum are two of the Steelers top performers in their respective positions on this squad. Both of their contracts are up at the end of 2015.

Heyward has risen over the last two seasons as one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL. He’s very effective in both the run and passing blitzes. He also has a hard work ethic and has a great attitude on and off the field. He’s a leader on this defense.

There’s a hefty price tag that will pay for that whole package.

Beachum has been a serviceable lineman since joining the Steelers in 2012 as a 7th round pick. At times deemed a “Swiss Army Knife” lineman, he’s backed up just about every position but center until he locked up the left tackle position.

Beachum has done well at protecting Ben’s blind side. Of course he’s been beaten at times and allowed a defender to chase down Big Ben. In fact, he’s allowed the most sacks (7) than any of his teammates. However, understanding the nature of the LT position, that’s not necessarily a bad statistic.

Couple that with the fact that there’s not any real significant depth at the LT position and Beachum is holding most of the cards in negotiations.

Signing both of these players could be problematic for the Steelers. Heyward’s payday will be significant (rightfully so) and Beachum will want a hefty sum whether he actually deserves every penny of it.

The Steelers may not be able to sign both before the start of the season. So who gets signed over the other?

Even though the Steelers made no move at securing bigger and better depth at the tackle position in this years draft, they may be content with what they have and see what kind of price tag Beachum will want after the 2015 season.

If the price tag is too high – though I foresee the Steelers holding a huge fire sale with a large contingent of their 2016 expired contracts – they could let Beachum walk and find the next great LT in the draft or in free agency.

It’s a bit of a risk, but the front office will always be dealing with the glacial-like increase of the salary cap. A guy like Beachum can’t break the bank. He’s valuable, but not worth putting them in a financial bind.

Heyward is simply the more unique and special kind of player anyways.

Expect the Steelers to get the Heyward signing done before August.

We rarely hear that negotiations are happening between the organization and a player, but I would also expect that the Steelers make some type of initial offer to Beachum to see if he bites.

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