The Casey Hampton watch officially begins today. Today marks the first day that teams are permitted to place the franchise tag on players. The deadline is February 25th.
Official contract talks between the Steelers and Casey Hampton are set to begin this week as front executive Omar Khan and Eric Armstead, the agent for Casey Hampton are expected to meet on Thursday or Friday of this week to kick off official talks.
The two sides did speak at the Senior Bowl and once again last week.
The Steelers only option appears to be to place the franchise tag on Hampton as the thinking is that the two sides are “miles apart” in the term and guaranteed money, according to source.
The franchise tag for nose tackles is in the range of $7 million.
Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the Steelers and Jeff Reed will finalize what will likely be a four year deal worth in the range of $2.25 million per season before the February 25th deadline.
However, contract talks with safety Ryan Clark have yet to reach the substantive stages and the growing sense in the organization is that Clark will test free agency to see what the market is and come back to the Steelers with an opportunity to come close.
Similar to what Chris Kemoeatu and Bryant McFadden did last year. Kemoeatu turned down more guaranteed money from New York and returned to Pittsburgh.
The Steelers though have targeted Clark as a priority but may not be willing to meet his price demands of $3 million+ in base pay.
Free Agency begins March 5th.