It was only around six weeks ago where the discussion point was whether or not Matt Feiler or Mike Hilton could receive a restricted free agent tender from the Steelers for the 2020 season. After a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Steelers making multiple contract restructures, the salary cap space was made available to where the Steelers could offer both players a second-round tender at $3.259 million for 2020.
Although the player’s salaries count against the salary cap at the present time, neither player is currently under contract officially. Until they sign their tender, the players are free to negotiate a deal with other clubs as well as the Steelers. Should either Hilton or Feiler be given an official offer from another team, the Steelers would have the right to match the deal. If they decline, the Steelers would receive the team’s second-round draft pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
The more likely scenario would be for either one of the players to sign a new contract with the Steelers instead of their restricted free agent tender. What would be the advantage of the Steelers signing either or both players to a long term contract? While it would not necessarily make their salary cap number any less in 2020, it would mean they player would not become an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
A prime example of losing a player one year after giving them a second-round tender is B.J. Finney. After using the tender on Finney last year for the price of $3.095 million, Finney left for the Seattle Seahawks this offseason for a contract worth $8 million over two seasons. If the Steelers want to make sure they keep either Feiler or Hilton beyond 2020, a new contract would be wise.
The most obvious question is what a new deal would look like for either player. Starting with Matt Feiler, the easiest place to compare would be the salaries of right tackles as it was the position he played in all but one game in 2019. If Feiler wanted to be paid in the top 10 of right tackles, he would be looking to make around $8 million per season. If he was more around the top 15 he would be about $5.5 million a year and the top 20 would come in around $4.5 million. If the Steelers were to give Feiler a contract in the neighborhood of $20 million over three years (a completely made-up figure on my end), the salary cap hit for 2020 would be less than the tendered amount.
When it comes to offering Mike Hilton a long-term contract, things get a little fuzzy. With the value of the slot cornerback rising in today’s NFL, some players at the position are cashing in for large contracts. The big question would be is if Hilton is demanding a reasonable salary or not. With his position being so tricky, I’m not willing to estimate any numbers on a deal with Hilton. Additionally, it’s unclear if the Steelers value Hilton long-term with a player like Cameron Sutton also capable of playing the position.
So should the Steelers look in the locking up either of these players with a long-term contract? Or are the Steelers better off keeping them just for a year at this price? Make sure you vote in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Assuming no other teams make an offer, should the Steelers sign Matt Feiler or Mike Hilton to a long-term contract before the 2020 season?
This poll is closed
Yes to both
Yes to Feiler, but no to Hilton
Yes to Hilton, but no to Feiler
No to both