Any day now I expect the Pittsburgh Steelers to announce that they have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract signed by defensive end Cameron Heyward and now we know what the price of that 2015 salary will be in doing so.
On Thursday, the Houston Texans picked up the fifth-year option on defensive end J.J. Watt and Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported that amount as being $6.969 million. Being as Heyward plays the same position, that should be the amount of his fifth-year as well.
#Texans picked up J.J. Watt's fifth-year option more than a month ago, per NFLPA records. $6.969M injury gtd only until 2015 year begins.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 18, 2014
It is important to remember that the one-year option is guaranteed for injury only and the Steelers have until the 3rd of May to exercise it. There’s no reason to believe that they won’t.
Being as the franchise tag amount for a defensive end in 2014 was $13.116 million, you can see why it makes sense to pick up Heyward’s fifth-year option.
Once the option is picked up, the Steelers can then work towards getting a long-term deal done with the former first-round draft pick, but there’s no hurry to do so. In fact, an extension for Heyward won’t likely get done until training camp next year.
Heyward, who was drafted with the 31st overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, had a breakout season in 2013 as he registered 59 total tackles and five sacks to go along with seven passes defensed.