Why have the Steelers not signed Joey Porter Jr. and who loses in a hold-out?

Joey Porter Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers
Joey Porter Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers / Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes rookies drag their feet at quickly signing a contract after they are drafted. Certainly, he’s not the first Steelers rookie to do that. While these situations get worked out eventually, should Steelers fans be concerned that he has not signed his contract yet? No, they shouldn’t. If anyone should be concerned, it’s Joey Porter Jr.

Porter will sign his rookie contract at some point. We would have to assume that the Steelers general manager Omar Khan is working diligently to have Joey Porter under contract by the time the Steelers open training camp. Training camp opens on the 27th, so any deal to prevent a holdout must be finalized by then.

Why have the Steelers have not signed Porter?

The main reason the Steelers have not signed Porter stems from where he was drafted in this year’s draft. Because the Dolphins forfeited their 1st round draft selection, there were only 31 picks in the first round. Joey Porter Jr. was drafted with the 32nd selection. Normally the 32nd selection is a first-round pick. Because of this abnormality in the draft Porter’s rookie contract is considered a 2nd round rookie contract.

The main difference is that only first-round draft choices get the 5th year option built into their contract; Joey Porter Jr. will not have that luxury in his. Hence because he was drafted 32nd and can't get the 5th-year option, it comes down to guaranteed money to offset the lack of a 5th-year option or the amount he receives in his 4th year.

We don’t know how far away they are from reaching a deal. We would have to suspect they are close, but then again, we do not know the specifics of the sticking point of finalizing any deal. Thus, the question is, can the deal be finalized before the Steelers open training camp? With the days winding down, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether his contract will be inked in time.

Who loses if the Steelers do not sign Porter?

In the Steelers' history, not many rookies have held out. The notable exceptions were Joe Greene in 1969, but Art Rooney intervened and ended any potential holdout, and Rod Woodson held out 95 days before signing his contract. These two players are both in the NFL Hall of Fame and in retrospect, the Steelers were on the losing end of the Woodson holdout, considering how talented he was.

Eric Green held out for 55 days, and again it didn’t affect him much as he made a big splash when he finally signed. Igniting a poor Steelers passing offense that did throw one passing touchdown until Chuck Noll inserted Green into the offense. Joey Porter's situation is slightly different than the other Steelers rookies who did hold out.

No matter how you slice it, Porter did not get drafted in the first round, and even if the Dolphins did have their pick, in hindsight, it seems unlikely he would have been drafted in the first round. Had the Steelers not held the 32nd pick or traded it, it’s still questionable as to how far Porter might have slid in the 2nd round, though we could assume probably not beyond the 40th selection. Without the Steelers' decision to draft him, he is essentially a legit 2nd rounder based on how the draft played out.

So If Porter decides to hold out, he could be the ultimate loser. Sure, he has the talent to be a great cornerback and will become over time, but if he holds out for any length of time, it could impede his chances of being a starter in his rookie season. If he's not ready, Mike Tomlin isn’t the sort of coach that will throw in Porter as a starter. Plus, it will be a long time before fans can lump Porter in with other great Steelers cornerbacks like Mel Blount and Rod Woodson.

Next. This makes Joey Porter Jr. look like a Steelers legend in the making. This makes Joey Porter Jr. look like a Steelers legend in the making. dark

While fans are anxious to see how Joey Porter Jr. performs and what he brings to the Steelers defense, it will be a shame if he chooses a holdout rather than reporting to training camp it would certainly be a disappointing start to his NFL career, especially for all the fans wanting to see how he performs.