Steelers Committed to In-Season No-Negotiation Policy

Despite several players on expiring deals, the Steelers will continue their team policy of not negotiating contracts in-season.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs for q first down during the first quarter of their game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, January 7, 2024 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs for q first down during the first quarter of their game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, January 7, 2024 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / Mark Hoffman / USA TODAY NETWORK
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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are a traditional franchise. They have rules and systems in place that carry over from coaching and managing regimes. It's one of the things that sets the organization apart in the NFL.

Sometimes, however, the Steelers' rigidity can put them in a difficult position. That is the case with the Steelers' contract situations. They have several marquee players entering the last year of their deals. Players like James Daniels, Justin Fields, Pat Freiermuth, Najee Harris, Cam Heyward, and Russell Wilson are all due for new contracts in 2025. Many organizations would opt to negotiate throughout the year.

That is not the case for the Steelers. Once the regular season hits, they won't be discussing any contracts. It's a continuation of an organizational rule that has been in place for years. On a recent appearance on 93.7 The Fan's The PM Team with Poni and Mueller, General Manager Omar Khan made it clear that he won't change that policy anytime soon. When asked about the contract statuses of Fields and Wilson, Khan discussed the team's policy and his thoughts on it.

"I think it's an awesome policy," Khan said. "That policy predates even before Kevin (Colbert) and I got here. Once we get into the season, I'm a believer it should be all focused on football. Obviously, there's a business aspect to this, and that's okay. That's just part of it. But once we get into the season, it's to focus on the season," Khan stated.

The decision to not negotiate once the season begins is a gamble for the Steelers. What if Russell Wilson plays himself into a new deal? What if Justin Fields takes the reins from Wilson and earns a long-term extension? None of that is a concern for Khan, who is solely focused on letting it play out once the season begins.

"From my standpoint, I can just tell you I'm more worried about the quarterback for this year," Khan said. "The rest of it will take shape after the season," he told The PM Team.

The Steelers are now in a summer break and will return for training camp and the preseason after their hiatus. If any contract extensions are finalized, it will most likely be during this break. Otherwise, it will have to wait until after the 2024 season. For most organizations, that could be a problem. For the Steelers, it's just a part of business.

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Jacob Punturi

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