The Steelers are now a week into training camp, and some players need new deals. Here is a look at the players Pittsburgh should try to sign at the right price.
The Steelers are very specific in the way they do business, and one of their business practices is to only sign players to extensions in the offseason. This gives the team and the agent a deadline for negotiations and also lets the players focus on playing when the season starts.
We have seen many scenarios where players are extended during training camp as that is the period of the season closest to the deadline. I have complied a list of players who the Steelers should try to extend at the right price, as well as players who I don’t believe should earn an extension.
Players who need an extension:
Javon Hargrave has been a steady presence in the middle for the Steelers. Unfortunately for his pay day, he plays in 2019 where nose tackles aren’t as valued. He also isn’t on the field all of the time as they like to take him out of the nickel to add a slot corner. On the other hand, he is one of the best players on the team and is a very good nose tackle.
Hargrave can be used in the nickel if he spells Tuitt and Heyward from time to time. Usually, Tyson Alualu does that, but it might be worth it to use Hargrave in that role to give Tuitt and Heyward a rest. Signing him would give the Steelers one of the best 3-4 defensive lines in the league.
I would also argue that defensive line is the strength of this team and they should try to keep that in tact in the future. I would like to see him get something in the realm of 4 years and 20 million total.
Joe Haden has been a steady corner for the Steelers over the past two years and should be a starter in 2019. The worry about Haden is that he is on the wrong side of 30 and has an injury history.
I think the best course of action is to offer him a three year deal and make not a lot of money guaranteed later in his contract. I would offer him about eight million a year and hope that he signs it to stay with the Steelers.
Haden is a Drew Rosenhaus client and so the bet is that he wants to get paid. I think this extension makes sense for the Steelers because they have had trouble drafting corners. I’m hoping Haden wants to stay in Pittsburgh.
Sean Davis is coming off his best year in 2018 and that is a sign that free safety is his best position. He has been asked to contribute early and in a lot of different roles including slot cornerback, strong safety and punt team.
Davis is currently injured and so that is probably hindering his chances of getting a new contract. There is also the issue of him being a Drew Rosenhaus client which will make him harder to sign. I like the idea of signing him though long term as he is a steady free safety. Sean Davis is attractive because he doesn’t need to be developed a lot more and is only 25 and so a nice five-year contract would really be great for both sides.
My worry is that he wants to be paid like a top 5 free safety and in my opinion he is not worth that. I think he is worth 7 million a year but he may think he is worth 14 million a year. I would risk it and let him test free agency and maybe resign him if he is humbled by the market.
This is a unique scenario because B.J. Finney is not a starter but his market value is starter’s money. He is valuable to the Steelers because he can play all three interior positions and he could take over for either the aging Ramon Foster or the aging Maurkice Pouncey.
I would like to see him kept under contract for a few years; so, that he can take over for either of those two. The difficulty is that next year he will be an unrestricted free agent and therefore can’t be tendered like he was this year. He may want the opportunity to start somewhere right away.
On the other hand, he has a connection to the Steelers as his late father was a Steelers fan. He has been loyal to the team in the past staying on the practice squad for league minimum money. They may have to do that again and pay him starter’s money to stay as a backup.
I would offer him three years and nine million dollars total to stick around.
Players who I would not extend:
Mike Hilton is still an exclusive rights free agent and so the Steelers can wait a year to extend him as a restricted free agent. He also was better in 2017 then in 2018 and so if there is further decline in his play then the Steelers may want to move on.
Bud Dupree should be in his last year in Pittsburgh and he is already overpaid. At 9.232 million, he is only going to want more than that to stay. According to Tommy Jaggi, the Steelers have had a good camp from Ola Adeniyi and so I think he deserves to get a chance to be the right outside linebacker in 2020.
The Steelers are tight against the cap at this point in time. With only so much money to go around, it will be interesting to see how Pittsburgh elects to use their cap space. Let’s hope some of these players get locked up for good.