5 contract extensions the Steelers need to be tirelessly working on

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Unlike in years past, the Steelers actually have a healthy list of pending free agents for the 2025 offseason. With plenty of cap space to spend, some of those names will likely return, but this is certainly a change of pace from the years of Levi Wallace and Terrell Edmunds being the more notable free-agent names for this team.

With the lull of the offseason almost upon us, if I were the team, I would begin working on getting new deals in place for some of these veterans. Getting them inked to a new deal this offseason ensures that you have control over them moving forward. Here are the five current Steelers I would be working on tirelessly to get new deals.

Steelers need to extend Pat Freiermuth

The first name on this list seems like the most obvious. The Steelers found a gem in Pat Freiermuth when they landed him in the second round, and when healthy he is easily among the top tight ends in the game. Even with poor quarterback play, Freiermuth is a great safety net.

A new deal shouldn’t launch him into the top ten given his health issues last year. That said, I can’t see him wanting to sign a deal for less than 13 million a season, and I think you could make the argument that he deserves more than David Njoku and Evan Engram given the rise of the cap. Unless Freiermuth wants to cement himself as a top-five tight end and get paid like one, I think settling for something in between makes sense.

What I would do: I think a three-to-four-year deal should be the base of the contract with an average value of around 14 million dollars.

Steelers need to extend Cameron Heyward

This is a contract that has gotten a lot of negative press in recent weeks. Cameron Heyward has made it clear that he would like a new deal with him not arriving at voluntary practices. He also wants to retire with the team that drafted him, making a deal all the more likely. At his age though, there does need to be some precautions.

The structure of the deal should make it feasible to get out of next year in case Heyward decides to retire. If he doesn’t, the contract keeps him around for another year. While I rarely throw out the “hometown discount” wording for deals, given his age and injury last year, you can’t pay top of the market. That said, assuming you can meet somewhere in the middle, I want to lock up one of my defensive leaders.

What I would do: add two more years to his deal with an average value of around 19-20 million a season that can be negated next year if 2024 is his last season.

Steelers need to extend James Daniels

The guard market has blown up over the past few seasons, which makes this extension a harder one to figure out. James Daniels has been really good for this team. While he lacks the accolades of the top names in the league, his play is steady, and given the fact that he is still young will make him a hot commodity if he were to enter free agency next offseason.

Considering the resources that have been invested in the offensive line though, and with three players on rookie deals, I’m willing to spend up to keep this line strong. This team has other needs, and next year it would be nice to start investing heavily in other units. While Mason McCormick was a good value pick, I’m not going to bank on him becoming a starter. While the team seems to want to go in a different direction, I want Daniels on my roster. In terms of value, I think top-8 is appropriate, meaning that he should net a sizable pay increase.

What I would do: give Daniels a four-year deal with an average value of around 17 million dollars a season.

Steelers need to extend Jaylen Warren

While some fans remain hopeful that the Steelers will re-sign Najee Harris to a new deal, those odds took a significant blow when they declined his fifth-year option. A new deal could be struck, but that is a rare occurrence for a player who saw that option declined.

Instead, the Steelers should be focused on getting a new deal done with Jaylen Warren. I’ve said this for a while, but a new deal makes sense for both sides. While only a restricted free agent next offseason, meaning the team can easily retain him, both sides should be in favor of a new deal.

Running backs have short shelf lives, and one bad injury and deter their future. Just look at James Robinson from a few seasons ago. Getting something now, even if it is slightly at a reduced rate, has to be appealing for Warren. The Steelers get a viable back to keep in the rotation for the next few years assuming Harris walks. It is a win-win for both sides.

What I would do: is extend Warren for three years with an average value between 4.5-5.5 million a season.

Steelers need to extend Justin Fields

This is probably the most controversial name on this list, but it would be wise for the Steelers to try and get a new deal worked out with one of their quarterbacks. While Justin Fields has a lot to prove, he also has the highest ceiling of anyone in that room. Because of this, I would like to see the team find a way to keep him past this season.

Thankfully, the Packers just showed the league how to construct a deal like this with Jordan Love. I think you could structure a deal similarly for Fields as well as add in some incentives if he were to be the starter. This would lock him on the roster for at least one more season at a reasonable price so he can attempt to prove that he is worth franchise quarterback money.

What I would do: give Fields one new year on his deal worth 13 million a year with incentives to help him aim higher.

Next. 3 unique solutions to the Steelers biggest roster problems. 3 unique solutions to the Steelers biggest roster problems. dark

Odds are that the Steelers will get at least a few of these players locked up before the season begins, and they would be wise to do so. I think all five of these players would be the most logical extension candidates for the prescribed prices.