'Hometown discounts' are a pipe dream for the Steelers this offseason

Fans are adamant that their favorite players should do what's best for the Steelers, but here is why that simply isn't true.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walks the field with  defensive tackle Cameron Heyward (97)
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walks the field with defensive tackle Cameron Heyward (97) / Kirby Leei-USA TODAY Sports

Amid the discussion that Cameron Heyward wants a new deal, the idea of him taking a hometown discount has once again been brought up. The idea is simple: a player willingly takes less money in order to play for a team that they have been with for a while. It is maddening when Steelers fans expect every player to take such a deal to remain with their team.

Hometown discounts aren’t a typical thing for most players, nor should they be. Any individual in the NFL has achieved a rare feat, and they should be properly rewarded for that. They only get so many shots at a big deal, so they should maximize any opportunity that they can get.

That isn’t to say players only look to the money in a new deal. Opportunities and desires to play in certain places often impact the final contract details for every player. All you have to do is look at Jeremy Chinn this offseason, as he reportedly took less money to play with the Commanders due to the situation there. That said, he wasn’t taking a proverbial hometown discount to go play in Washington.

Steelers are no different to the rest of the league

When you look at the Steelers, fans are pouring in on the idea that the team will extend current stars at this fabled discounted rate. Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris are both looking for their first paydays while Cameron Heyward has made it clear that he would like a new deal. You hear people talk every day that they will need to take a hometown discount to get a deal done.

At the end of the day, the market dictates contracts, and that is how it should be. The NFL certainly isn’t hurting for revenue, and the players deserve to get their share of that. They will have considerably fewer opportunities than the owners of the teams will.

While we are talking about monetary values that most of us will never come close to being around, that doesn’t change the fact that these players have earned that reward. They have dedicated their entire lives to the craft and are in the top 1 percent of players. Add in taxes and general expenses that add up, and I can’t berate a player for always seeking a fair market contract.

It isn’t like the NFL lives up to all of their deals on their end either. Every season countless players are cut due to them underperforming or because the team needs added cap space. I don’t have an issue with that either, but with the business side of the NFL being so cruel, you can’t be upset about a player maximizing this generational opportunity to secure wealth.

Fans are quick to say that these players are selfish, and they need to do what is best for the team. If the tables were turned, and your boss came to you and said for the good of the company we want you to take a 30 percent reduction in pay, you wouldn’t be sprinting to sign off on that. Just the same, you can’t expect these players to take a reduced salary just to help out the team.

Sure on occasion this happens, but it is usually a quarterback taking less money to open up cap space for better talent for a potential Super Bowl run. This also usually happens after they have signed numerous mega-deals, and the desire to win the Super Bowl overtakes their desire to secure additional funds.

Next. Steelers may already be regretting their biggest mistake from the offseason. Steelers may already be regretting their biggest mistake from the offseason. dark

So, the next time you say Heyward needs to take a reduction in pay or Harris and Freiermuth need to sign discounted deals, really think about what you are asking that player to do. This is their career, and despite being among the best in the game, you want them to willingly take less money to perform the same job at the same level. Then ask yourself, if you were in their shoes, would you do the same?