3 Steelers who will be looking for a contract extension next summer

T.J. Watt could be looking for a new contract next summer.
T.J. Watt could be looking for a new contract next summer. / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Steelers are not strangers to seeing players campaign for contract extensions over the summer. Cam Heyward is missing the beginning of OTA's this year looking for one. T.J. Watt and Le'Veon Bell also missed off-season workouts in search of an extension as well. Which current Steelers could join that list next summer?

1. George Pickens, WR

Since being drafted in the second round of the 2022 draft, Pickens has flashed big play ability and an outstanding catch radius. Entering the 2024 season, he'll get a chance to prove he can be a WR1.

With Diontae Johnson off to Carolina, Pickens will assume the WR1 role at the top of a questionable wide receiver room. Last season, Pickens caught 63 balls for 1140 yards and 5 touchdowns. He upped his play late in the season, forming a great connection with Mason Rudolph to help get the Steelers into the playoffs.

The 2024 season will be the third year of Pickens four year rookie contract. That means next summer, Pickens will be entering the final year of his contract. He'll be just 24 years old and could easily look for a big contract extension if he becomes the WR1 that he has the talent to become.

The money could be similar to the extension the Houston Texans just gave Nico Collins. The Texans inked Collins to a three year extension worth $72.75 million. Collins had 80 receptions for 1297 yards and 8 touchdowns last season in a breakout campaign. Pickens could be looking for a similar deal next offseason from the Steelers.

2. Larry Ogunjobi, DT

Another Steeler entering the second to last year of his deal is Larry Ogunjobi.

Ogunjobi has put up 4.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries across his seasons in Pittsburgh so far. More importantly, he's only missed one game across his two years in Pittsburgh, despite being a regular on the injury report. Entering the 2024 season, Ogunjobi will be 30 years old during the 2024 season and will be owed $13 million this season and $10.5 million next season.

With Cam Heyward's future in the black and gold uncertain right now, Ogunjobi could try to leverage that into a new contract extension. He could serve as a mentor to Keeanu Benton and any future defensive lineman in the Steelers draft going forward. If Ogunjobi has a good 2024, he could be earning a big payday next summer.

3. T.J. Watt, LB

Watt was in this situation a couple of years ago. He sat out of some offseason activities during the summer of 2021 before signing a 4 year, $112 million extension. He'll be entering the final season of that extension next summer and could be looking for another extension then.

Watt's production is definitely worthy of a lucrative extension. He led the league in sacks three times, including 19.0 sacks last season, he's been an All-Pro four times and won the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year award. He's one of the best defensive players in the league and worth every penny.

So what could the holdup be next summer? Why not just give Watt what he wants and move on?

Watt will be 30 next year and openly talked about feeling tired and worn down during this offseason. He missed 7 games during the 2022 season and has been on the injury report more than he would like. This could cause the Steelers to try a shorter-term extension with Watt and could lead to Watt holding out of offseason activities next summer until he and the team can come to a deal.