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Insider Only On Cam Heyward’s massive deal, Shrewd familiarity signings

Heyward will have zero impact on Watt, Fitzpatrick getting monster deals

The Pittsburgh Steelers signing defensive end Cam Heyward to a massive five year, $75.1 million extension that includes $65.6 million in new money came down to the Steelers at the end of the day deciding that on and off the field Heyward was just irreplaceable.

The deal from a yearly average standpoint is the highest for a defensive player over 30 in NFL history. Again, this was a massive deal for the Steelers to make.

The Heyward Deal was proof again that the Steelers will always step up to the plate and pay market value to keep their stars long-term when both parties actually want to make a deal. The exception being Le’Veon Bell who the Steelers internally believe was never going to sign a long-term deal.

There’s certainly risk in dishing out this type of deal to a 31 year old defensive lineman entering his 10th season and what it means to others in line for big deals remain to be seen.

One thing to keep in mind, though.

For about the last 10 years, every season and off-season we hear ‘Steelers in salary cap hell’ and so on. It’s going to be nauseating this season. What so many overlook is in the NFL there’s always a way to keep your own stars and the Steelers in 2021 will find a way to move enough money around.

The Heyward deal will have zero impact on T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick getting monster deals in 21 and 22.

Someone like Bud Dupree is a different story where the Heyward deal will have a limitation on what the Steelers will be willing and able to do with Dupree next off season were the arrow continue to point up for Dupree who will play this season on the franchise tag.

— Love the Steelers final roster tweaks, starting with the signing of Safety Sean Davis. There’s one true weakness on this defensive unit and it’s Terrell Edmunds. In a year where familiarity is going to be critical, Davis fits the bill perfectly to provide needed depth and a potential option to supplant Edmunds in some packages.

“Forget safety, Sean Davis has been a quality punt/kick return (coverage) player,” Head coach Mike Tomlin said. “Instant help he can provide as a core special teamer…..Capable of playing both safety positions and adding starter quality depth.”

— Did the Steelers do enough to upgrade to the backup quarterback position? Of course not, they missed a great opportunity to bring in a legitimate No. 2 on the cheap in free agency. Putting all their eggs in Mason Rudolph’s basket is problematic if Ben Roethlisberger can’t get through the season. However, bringing Josh Dobbs back as the No. 3 QB was another shrewd depth move in bringing in a QB with familiarity who can add a mobility element were the Steelers have Big Ben go down again.

“Excited to bring Josh back in the fold,” Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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