Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward said in January he would be "more than happy to facilitate" extension talks as long as the organization feels the same way, but now that we are entering August, he's feeling uneasy about his future in Pittsburgh. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Heyward is concerned he will not retire as a Steeler due to a lack of movement on a contract extension.
Heyward has just one year remaining on the six-year, $59.25 million deal he inked back in 2015, and there have been no substantive contract discussions between his camp and the Steelers front office. Heyward's agent, Michael Perrett of Element Sports Group, told ESPN that his client has maintained he wants to remain with the Steelers, but is discouraged with how talks have gone this offseason.
"I thought we'd be further along in the process. In a normal year, we might be," Perrett said. "The current situation (with the pandemic) has led to a lot of uncertainty, but NFL business is still moving forward. Cam would love to retire a Steeler, but at this point, he just doesn't know how all of this is going to play out."
The two sides have had "broad" discussions about Heyward's future, but have yet to discuss specific terms. As a team captain and player rep, Heyward has not considered holding out, but he does want this matter to get resolved.
The No. 31 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has made three straight Pro Bowls and was also named first-team All-Pro for the second time in his career in 2019. He set a career-high in combined tackles with 83 this past season, and was able to record nine sacks coupled with 23 quarterback hits. Along with being able to get after the quarterback, Heyward was an elite run stuffer as well. According to Pro Football Focus, only Calais Campbell and Aaron Donald were better at stopping the run than Heyward, who finished with a 90.3 run defense grade. Heyward's 29 sacks since 2018 ranks second behind Donald among interior linemen. He is due $9.5 million in base salary in 2020, along with a $13.2-million cap hit.