The Steelers announced late Thursday night the signing of defensive end Cam Heyward to a contract extension. Heyward would have been a free-agent after this season, and according to several outlets, the six-year extension includes the final year of Heyward’s current deal and will run through 2020. The deal is said to be worth $59.25 million.
The news isn’t shocking, as it’s quite common for the Steelers to sign players to extensions in the next-to-last year of their current deals (Ben Roethlisberger, who would have been a free-agent next season, signed an extension in March). But with training camp fast-approaching and the team’s long-standing policy of not negotiating deals once the regular season begins, the sooner an extension was reached for Heyward, the better.
Heyward was the Steelers first round pick out of Ohio State in the 2011 NFL Draft. And after a rather quiet start to his career, Heyward started to emerge as one of the defense’s next star players in his third season. In 2013, Heyward recorded five quarterback sacks and often wreaked havoc in the other team’s backfield.
- A season ago, Heyward tied for the team-lead in sacks with 7.5 and was credited with eight quarterback pressures (or hurries).
With the Steelers defense struggling and trying to find as many young players as possible to get back to where it was in the Super Bowls days of the 2000s, stars are at a premium, and it looks like Cam Heyward will be a shining one for the team for many years to come.