I few weeks ago it was reported that Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark had said his agent was working hard to get him a contract extension being as 2013 is his final year of his current contract, but Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Friday that Clark told him no contract negotiations are currently taking place.
This news isn\’t terribly surprising being as the Steelers normally don\’t start working on extensions with players until training camp gets underway. Being that Clark will turn 34 this season, he might be low on the priority list being as the team might decide to try to extend defensive end Ziggy Hood and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders first.
When Clark was an unrestricted free agent in 2010, it resulted in him signing a four-year, $14 million contract back with the Steelers that included a $3 million signing bonus plus incentives. A new extension, however, would obviously have to average a little less than that due to salary cap concerns.
Based on his last two seasons alone, Clark shows no signs of slowing down and despite him dabbling in the media this past offseason as an intern with ESPN, he still thinks he has more good football left in him.
“I still love this game; I want to be here, and I want this team to do well,” Clark told Bouchette.
Clark is very good friends with his safety partner Troy Polamalu and he more than likely wants to play alongside him until he\’s ready to call it quits. Just so you know; Polamalu is under contract through the 2014 season, and he said this past week that retirement hasn\’t crossed his mind just yet.
The Steelers now have two safeties waiting in the wings in the form of Robert Golden and Shamarko Thomas, who was selected in the fourth-round back in April, so it\’s only a matter of time before one or both are ready to become starters. If the Steelers were to wind up extending Clark two years later this summer, there\’s a good chance that he wouldn\’t see the final year of the deal.
I don\’t have a good read on whether or not this ultimately gets done before the start of the regular season, and I suspect the Steelers are still taking a wait and see approach to it as well. If they feel good about the immediate future of both Golden and Thomas a few weeks into training camp, Clark more than likely will be allowed to play out his final year and test free agency next offseason. At that point if he wants to play in Pittsburgh in 2014, he will more than likely have to do so for the veteran minimum with no guarantees that he will be the starter.