It’s that time of year again in Pittsburgh.
No, I’m not talking about the start of OTAs or the fact the NFL season is finally in viewing distance. And I’m certainly not talking about the annual Kenny Chesney concert that typically kicks of summer in the town.
What I’m referring to is the annual splurge by the Pittsburgh Steelers that they do every year to re-sign a few of their prominent young players.
Like clockwork, every offseason the Steelers make a point to re-sign a few players, typically guys entering their final contract year. It has happened so often that we’ve come to expect it. Once the summer months come around, talented players get contract extensions.
Last year we saw it with cornerback Cortez Allen and tackle Marcus Gilbert, as they both received contract extensions late last summer. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out entirely just yet as neither justified the contract last season. Gilbert was clearly the weak link on the offensive line and Allen was eventually placed on the inactivate list for poor play and injury.
Despite these question marks from last season, this is a formula that has worked for the Steelers in the past and they will not deviate from it. Names from the current roster such as Antonio Brown and Maurkice Pouncey were once re-signed in this annual spree. Most would agree it worked out in the Steelers’ favor considering they both have fairly team friendly contracts despite their elite play.
With that being said, you have to expect the Steelers will once again re-sign a few of their promising young players. History always repeats.
So, who will the Steelers’ re-sign this offseason?
As we already know, they re-signed Ben Roethlisberger earlier this offseason. His contract is a bit of an outlier though because he is a quarterback. They had to lock him up before the market got too skewed by mediocre quarterbacks getting mega-contracts. Think about it – Andy Dalton makes $100 million. Image the market average after Andrew Luck gets a new deal.
When looking at the Steelers’ roster and contract situations, the obvious candidates for a new contract would be offensive lineman Ramon Foster and Kelvin Beachum. They are both entering the final year of their contracts and have been integral in the success of the unit.
Since signing a new deal with the Steelers in 2012, Foster has started 46 of the 49 games. Beachum has started 28 consecutive games since entering the lineup two years ago and was one of two players who played every snap for the Steelers last season.
Clearly they are both key pieces of the offensive line.
That being said, I would expect to see Pittsburgh re-sign at least one of them this summer, if not both. It could save the Steelers money in the long run if they both continue to progress and stay healthy. With another strong season in 2015, both players would be significant pieces on the open market in 2016 free agency.
It’s likely that Pittsburgh will attempt to sign Beachum before Foster if they decide to only extend only one of them this offseason. He is three years younger and has the versatility to play tackle or guard. In addition, they may be able to get him at a cheaper cost since he is a little less seasoned to the NFL.
One thing we can be certain of is extensions are coming in Pittsburgh. They do not like to have key players reach the final year of their contracts and will definitely hand out some cash before the start of 2015.
History proves it.