The Steelers have made a key signing in inking defensive end Cameron Heyward to a new six-year deal that will keep him in Black & Gold through 2020. The announcement was made late Thursday evening that the Steelers and Heyward came to terms on a six-year, $59.25 million deal.
Heyward is now the NFL’s 11th highest paid defensive end and it goes without saying that he is a critical part of this team and defense, now in a transition to a new generation.
Heyward is only 26 and is coming off a fantastic 2014 season where he recorded his career-best 7 ½ sacks and looks to get even more in Keith Butler’s new defense. Butler has already explained that he intends to get the ends move involved in rushing the passer than they are traditionally used in the Dick LeBeau-style 3-4 defense.
Not only was Heyward a beast on the field last season, but he definitely made his mark on the team emerging as a leader on and off of the field, accepting the proverbial torched passed to him by Brett Keisel.
Heyward was the Steelers’ first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. He was born in Pittsburgh, son of the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward who was a star Pitt running back and played 11 seasons in the NFL.
The Steelers picked up the fifth-year option of Heyward’s rookie contract last summer and after Ben Roethlisberger was successfully signed to his extension, this seemed like the next logical step. Heyward has appeared in 64 consecutive games and became the Steelers’ first defensive end to tie or lead the team in sacks since Aaron Smith did it in 2004.
What do you think of the extension for Cameron Heyward Steeler Nation?
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