Steelers Insider Gives Interesting Look at Cam Heyward Drama

There's more to Cam Heyward's negotiations with the Pittsburgh Steelers than it first appeared.
Jan 15, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walks the
Jan 15, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walks the / Kirby Leei-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- Long-time Pittsburgh Steelers captain Cameron Heyward sent waves rippling throughout the Steel City when he announced that he intends to skip Organized Team Activities until he receives a contract extension. But there's more to these negotiations than it seems according to one team insider.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the day before OTAs are set to begin that the Steelers were not asking Heyward to take a paycut for the 2024 season, noting that other stars like Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and James Harrison were asked to take less money late in their careers.

"The Steelers have not and do not intend to ask Heyward to take a pay cut this season," Dulac wrote. "They are willing to honor the final year of his contract because of what he has done on the field as a six-time Pro Bowl player and team captain and off the field as the 2024 Walter Payton Man of the Year."

That said, Dulac added that if Heyward wants to play beyond 2024 - the final year of his current contract with the Steelers, during which he's set to earn upwards of $22 million - he would have to do it for less than he's currently earning, whether that's in Pittsburgh or anywhere else.

As Heyward looks for more long-term job security, Dulac thinks it's unlikely the Steelers would sign him to more than a one-year extension unless they can tie his future compensation to voidable years than can be easily discarded. The notion of a one-year extension is out there, but the Steelers and Heyward have not engaged in a "serious discussion" about it, according to Dulac.

With the understanding that a paycut isn't imminent, Dulac thinks Heyward should tone down his rhetoric.

"Heyward can probably go easy on the threat to skip OTAs, especially if he doesn’t have to worry about a pay cut."

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Stephen Thompson

STEPHEN THOMPSON

Stephen Thompson graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and political science from Pitt in April 2022 after spending four years as a sports writer and editor at The Pitt News, the University of Pittsburgh's independent, student-run newspaper. He primarily worked the Pitt men's basketball beat, and filled in on coverage of football, volleyball, softball, gymnastics and lacrosse, in addition to other sports as needed. His work at The Pitt News has won awards from the Pennsylvania News Media Association and Associated College Press. During the spring and summer of 2021, Stephen interned for Pittsburgh Sports Now, covering baseball in western Pennsylvania. Hailing from Washington D.C., family ties have cultivated a love of Boston's professional teams and Pitt athletics, and a fascination with sports in general.