The Pittsburgh Steelers have had some team-friendly contracts over the years. Here’s who currently has the best deal as we enter the 2022 season.
At the rate that teams are handing out money to wide receivers, T.J. Watt’s $28 million-per-year deal is starting to look like a bargain. Over the past two offseasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers locked up two stud defenders for the foreseeable future.
Sadly, the days are essentially gone when we could expect players to take team-friendly discounts. We have a good grasp of how the free-agent process works, and agents simply won’t settle for less than what their clients should earn.
Over the years, the Steelers have been able to sign players to contract extensions that proved to be remarkable deals and long-term investments. While they might not have anybody at a crazy discount at the moment, there is one player with a contract that has the potential to be one of the better discount deals in the league.
James Daniels has the best contract on the Steelers
This past offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers finally made a sizable investment into their offensive line by adding former Bears offensive guard James Daniels. Despite being part of one of the worst OL units in football last season, Daniels has been one of the lone bright spots.
In his first four seasons in the NFL, Daniels has graded out as a top-20 guard in each year he qualified (Daniels only played 5 games in 2020 due to injuries).
While some unrestricted free agents broke the bank on their new deals this offseason, I was thrilled with the contract that the Steelers gave Daniels. Despite being just 24 years old with four years of impressive play under his belt, Daniels inked a three-year, $26.5 million deal with Pittsburgh this offseason, via Over the Cap.
This is an annual earnings of $8.8 million. While this might seem like a lot, there are still 19 interior offensive linemen who are currently costing their team more money in yearly value against the cap than Daniels. The good news is that Daniels is younger than all of them and he future looks pretty bright.
Daniels isn’t guaranteed to be a great player for the Steelers, as he still needs to prove his worth in Pittsburgh. However, I like his odds of becoming a better player on his second contract — especially now that he’s with a good franchise and already has lots of experience under his belt (48 NFL starts).
The only other contract that currently looks as good on the Steelers (not counting players on rookie deals) is Ahkello Witherspoon’s. After closing the season strong, Witherspoon signed a two-year, $8 million deal to stick around. If he proves to be a quality full-time cornerback, this will prove to be a steal.
We can only hope that James Daniels will continue where David DeCastro left off for the Steelers. Pittsburgh desperately needed to start investing in their offensive trenches and signing Daniels to a team-friendly deal was a great start.