The Pittsburgh Steelers finally confirmed the news we have been telling you via these pages for some time on Tuesday when they announced that Ryan Shazier would remain under contract for at least one more year in 2019. Despite suggestions to the contrary from the national and local media, and inexplicable confusion from both Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II when speaking about him to the press, Shazier will not be an unrestricted free agent this year as far too many have claimed recently.
With Shazier having started the 2018 season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP), the rules of the CBA always made it clear that his contract would toll this year and Pittsburgh finally acknowledged that fact via the team’s website with a post authored by Bob Labriola.
“The Steelers announced that Shazier’s contract will be tolled into the 2019 NFL season, which means he will remain on the team’s roster this year and eventually will be placed on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List.”
Ryan Shazier’s contract will be tolled into the 2019 NFL season.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 12, 2019
He will remain on the team’s roster this year and eventually will be placed on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List.
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Simply put, when a contract tolls, it effectively means it has been put on hold for a year, transferring over to cover the next season instead. The same thing also happened to the contract of Martavis Bryant when he missed a year due to suspension in 2016.
As per the CBA.
“Any player placed on a Physically Unable to Perform list (“PUP”) will be paid his full Paragraph 5 Salary while on such list. His contract will not be tolled for the period he is on PUP, except in the last year of his contract, when the player’s contract will be tolled if he is still physically unable to perform his football services as of the sixth regular season game.”
If not for the Steelers’ decision to restructure the contract of Shazier in 2018, his contract would have tolled at a rate of $8.718 million, but he will now be under contract for one more year at a salary of $805,000 instead.
Shazier will start the year on the PUP list again in 2019 and it should be expected that his contract will toll once more in 2020. But by keeping him on the roster rather than signing him to a coaching role as some have suggested, Shazier will add another year of service to his NFL pension and will be able to continue his rehabilitation at the team’s facilities at their expense.
Although it has yet to be confirmed by Pittsburgh, the contract of Eli Rogers should also be expected to toll given he began the year on the PUP list as well and was not activated until well after Week 6. He would have a salary cap charge of $720,000 in 2019.