COVID-19 has impacted everyone. From nurses to small businesses, everyone has seen some adverse effects from the pandemic. Sports and their franchises are no different.
Teams have been hesitant to shell out new contracts until finding out exactly what the salary caps would look like going forward. However, teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans wanted to assure their franchises quarterbacks - Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, respectively - are locked up for the future.
It seemed that Cam Heyward, a former Steelers first-round pick, was set to play his farewell tour in Pittsburgh. Negotiations had all but stalled, and the organization doesn’t negotiate deals in-season. Then, out of nowhere, talks picked back up upon the team’s realization of how important Heyward really is.
This is exactly the type of move that winning teams and good organizations make. Take note, Pittsburgh Pirates.
But seriously, who cares about the future of this deal? The Steelers have Heyward for five more seasons, including this one.
At the end of the deal, Heyward will be 36. He is a Steeler for life now. Heyward’s impact on the field is noticeable by the general Pittsburgh Steeler fan. Pardon me if I’m wrong, but outside of Pittsburgh, it feels like Heyward’s impact and importance on the defensive line isn’t quite recognized and that’s a shame. Maybe now that he’s making big boy money, the recognition and spotlight will be shone brighter upon him.
And to everyone who is worried about the future cap complications the Steelers will face by paying a 30-something-year-old non-quarterback almost $18 million a year going forward, I ask why that really matters?
We’re not even sure yet if Ben Roethlisberger is going to return and play a full season in Pittsburgh. If he does, the Steelers’ window is still open. So assuring that a key piece of one of the best defenses in the league is locked up is 100% the right move.
Sure, the Steelers have Minkah Fitzpatrick and T.J. Watt, among others, to try and sign here in the near future. But the necessary moves will be made when that time comes.
All of this also goes without saying the impact Heyward has for the community off the field. It is invaluable to have someone of such character in the locker room, especially after the Steelers’ past struggles dealing with egos such as Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
I’ve seen lots of positive reactions towards this signing. Heyward hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down either. The hard-nosed defensive end is in Pittsburgh for life as he should be.
This is why franchises like the Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins can be so successful. If Bob Nutting ever realized this, Pittsburgh could be a very special sports town.
With the Rooney family’s blessing, Kevin Colbert continues to assure the Steelers are one of the best-run organizations in all of sports.