As I have written several times over the course of the last several weeks, you can probably expect the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign defensive end Stephon Tuitt to a contract extension at some point during the offseason. Additionally, such an extension isn’t likely to be consummated until after the team reports to Latrobe for training camp.
On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked during a radio interview if Tuitt will be part of the team’s offseason to-do list and while he didn’t confirm that the former second-round draft pick would be signed to an extension in the months ahead, it’s not hard to read in-between the lines of his comments and suggest that will wind up being the case.
“He [Tuitt] won’t be a free agent until 2017, so again, we won’t comment on individual players,” Colbert said during an interview on Steelers Nation Radio. “We always talk about that class, we always deal with after the immediate business is done. Really, the immediate business will last until July 15th, so it’s highly unlikely we deal with any of the future business before we take care of this class.”
In short, the July 15 date that Colbert referenced is when the Steelers must have a long-term contract in place with running back Le’Veon Bell. If such a deal doesn’t materialize by then, Bell must play under the franchise tag in 2017.
On March 9 Tuitt will officially enter the final year of his rookie contract and thus will be a prime candidate to receive a very lucrative contract extension after the team reports to training camp.
A new contract extension for Tuitt will also result in his 2017 salary cap charge increasing and currently that number sits at $1,466,641.