Heyward and the Steelers have reached an agreement to restructure his contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. It's a typical restructure, mostly converting base salary to a signing bonus. The move adds about $7 million in 2021 cap space for the Steelers, and it all but ensures Heyward will stay with the team for another season. The 31-year-old defensive end recorded only four sacks in 2020, but he made his presence felt with 54 tackles and 19 QB hits, earning a Pro-Bowl nod for the fourth straight year.
Heyward will sit out Sunday's game against the Browns, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The Steelers are already locked into a wild-card playoff berth, so the team has little incentive to risk Heyward's health against the Browns. Instead, the veteran defensive end will get an opportunity to rest as he prepares for the postseason.
Heyward made five tackles (two solo), including a sack, in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Colts. After three straight seasons with more than eight sacks, Heyward producing just four sacks thus far is disappointing. The veteran defensive end has also added 54 tackles (30 solo) and three pass breakups through 15 games.
Heyward had seven tackles (three solo) during Monday's 27-17 loss to the Bengals. The 31-year-old tied for the team lead in tackles but went without a sack for the third straight contest. Heyward has only three sacks through 14 games in 2020, which would be his lowest sack total for a full season since 2012.
Heyward (quadriceps) was a full participant in practice Wednesday, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports. Heyward's full participation lends credence to the previous report that the quadriceps injury he sustained in last week's win over the Ravens was minor. He should be out there Sunday against the Cowboys.
|* indicates player did not play that week|