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Will Cam Heyward Get an Extension from the Steelers?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not engaged seriously with Cam Heyward on his asks for a contract extension this offseason.

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Steelers DT Cam Heyward
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward takes his helmet off during a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 16, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

When the Pittsburgh Steelers take the field at offseason training activities for the first time on Tuesday, they will not see longtime defensive captain Cam Heyward there. Instead, Heyward plans to train independently as he looks for a new contract. Heyward told Steelers Now earlier this month that he hopes to play three more seasons and wants to be in Pittsburgh, but that will all have to wait and see. Heyward is away from the team for now.

But Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Heyward will likely not get an extension, as the team has yet to engage in serious talks with him. They will, however, let Heyward play out the final year of his deal and not ask him to take a pay cut from his current salary.

“The Steelers have not and do not intend to ask Heyward to take a pay cut this season,” Dulac wrote. “They are willing to honor the final year of his contract because of what he has done on the field as a six-time Pro Bowl player and team captain and off the field as the 2024 Walter Payton Man of the Year.”

Cam Heyward does not have to worry much about the team being upset about him missing OTAs. Plenty of veterans have done so in the past, and Heyward made sure to explain his side of the entire saga.

Pittsburgh Steelers DT Cam Heyward

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward chases Buffalo Bills receiver Khalil Shakir on Jan. 15, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“First of all, it’s voluntary. Let’s get that straight. I’m working out, doing everything,” Heyward said on Not Just Football. “I have always attended these, but at this time, it’s just contract negotiations. I want to be a Pittsburgh Steeler, but we’ll see what happens. You got to do what’s right for you. I’m training hard; there’s nothing I’m not doing on and off the field. I’m doing everything possible, and we’ll get there when we get there.”

This is likely just kicking off. Pittsburgh has many players on expiring deals, including all three quarterbacks, Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, James Daniels, and others. To say they would want to extend Cam Heyward first might be the assumption, but it’s not a guarantee. So, it’s a tough situation to sit in as it stands, but more than that, Heyward’s age and injury in 2023 have to loom large.

Pittsburgh will have a hard time giving that money to Heyward before the start of training camp. At the very least, this team needs to see what Heyward can do coming off his offseason groin surgery. But that depends on his health and the level that Heyward can still play at moving forward.

The team will work without its best interior defensive lineman at OTAs. And Heyward has expressed that he would be okay playing for another team if it came down to that. It would seem likely the Steelers would let him play out this final season before he would potentially walk in free agency. But that is the dilemma the team must play with since Heyward is one of the defining Steelers of the past decade.