Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert mentioned that contract extensions for a few players might be in the works as part of the process to getting the team salary cap compliant by March 12, the start of the new league year. We will now have a look at a few players that the organization may or may not be considering to extend.
Ben Roethlisberger – Roethlisberger is the name you will hear the most when talking about extensions. It should be noted, however, that he is under contract through the 2015 season and he and his agent are more than likely wanting to wait and watch what Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco gets this offseason before signing up for a few more years. Restructuring the contract of Roethlisberger will likely end up being the end result as that accomplishes the primary goal, which is to lower his 2013 salary cap charge. With all of the above said, I think that next offseason is when an extension will ultimately get done.
Heath Miller – Miller is set to earn a $5.162 million base salary in 2013 but is coming off of a knee injury that will have him very iffy for the start of the season. He is currently under contract through the 2014 season, but will turn 31 years of age in October. Had Miller not suffered the knee injury I would be more comfortable in telling you that I thought extending him right now would likely be an option, but when the dust clears I don\’t think that he will be extended.
Brett Keisel – Extending Keisel by one year would only be done to clear less than a million in cap space for 2013. Doing this, however, would create a little less than a million in potential dead money in 2014. I don\’t figure that the Steelers need that little bit of cap space in 2013 to do this.
Ziggy Hood – Hood is entering the final year of his rookie contract and if the Steelers feel that he is worth extending a few years, now would be the time to do it, and they likely could do it in a way that it would lower his 2013 cap hit. It all depends on the signing bonus and how the non guaranteed roster bonuses might be worked into the contract. Don\’t hold your breath that this happens, but it is possible.
Maurkice Pouncey – While you would think Pouncey would be a prime candidate for an extension right now, next offseason, when he is scheduled to earn 3.7 million in bonuses might be the better time to do it. The Steelers would be hard pressed to greatly lower his 2013 cap number of $2.528 million by extending him right now.
Jason Worilds – Worilds is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is currently only scheduled to count $985,000 against the 2013 salary cap. Extending him now would mean that his cap number would more than likely go up. 2013 figures to be a season that Worilds could potentially be a starter depending on what happens with James Harrison. If he plays well, and looks to be a long-term keeper, then the Steelers would use the franchise tag on him next offseason and try to work out a long-term deal after that.
Emmanuel Sanders – Sanders is a restricted free agent that will be tendered at an original round level of $1.323 million in a matter of weeks. I smell an extension coming for him at some point during this offseason, but wonder if it will get done prior to March 12 or not.
Steve McLendon – McLendon, like Sanders, is a restricted free agent this offseason and due a tender likely in the amount of $1.323 million. This right of first refusal tender only gives the Steelers the ability to match an offer sheet that McLendon would get from another team as he was originally signed as an undrafted free agent. That means if the Steelers didn\’t match an offer that they wouldn\’t get any compensation from the team signing him away. If the Steelers think that McLendon can start at nose tackle the next few years they could likely work out a three year deal with him that would have a first year cap charge somewhere close to what the tender would be. This means roughly a signing bonus of around $2.5 million or so on a three year deal.
Jonathan Dwyer – I guess it is possible, but I would be suroperised. He will be tendered at $1.323 million, but I think that it ends there.
If any extensions are done over the course of the next few weeks I don\’t expect there to be but a few of them and I would be surprised if a player outside of the ones listed above were to get one.