The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2022 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at Saint Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.
It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.
Let’s get to the scenario...
Scenario: The Steelers will give away two new contracts before the regular season
Why it will happen: The Steelers are in a good spot with their 2022 salary cap, but they could be in a spot where they look to lock up some players who have earned new contracts. Two player who fit this description would be placekicker Chris Boswell and wide receiver Diontae Johnson. While Johnson’s next contract, and if it happens in Pittsburgh or not, is a hotly debated topic throughout the Steelers’ fan base. There isn’t anyone really complaining if Boswell gets a new contract, but the scenario is the team will deliver two new deals before the regular season begins.
Omar Khan said the Steelers won’t negotiate contracts during the regular season, so there is a hard stop on if/when a deal gets done. While fans might not want to give Johnson a new deal, he certainly could get one to try and get him at a bargain, considering the sky-rocketing price tags on wide receivers. Throw in Boswell’s new deal and you have yourself two new deals done before the season begins.
Why it won’t happen: The Steelers value both Johnson and Boswell, but how much they value them, individually, is certainly something which is less certain. Diontae Johnson has been great, but there are a lot of questions still surrounding his game and future with the team. This isn’t to suggest the Steelers don’t give out a new contract, but the approach to Johnson could be more of a wait-and-see variety. If Johnson plays well in 2022, the Steelers could offer their most competitive offer, and if it doesn’t fit what Johnson has in mind the team moves on. Johnson leaving would help the team in the compensatory pick formula, and young receivers like George Pickens and Calvin Austin III could step into a larger role in Year 2.
Prediction: I foresee the Steelers giving out one new contract, but not two. The thought of singing Johnson at a discount is certainly appealing, but is far from realistic, in my opinion. I think the Steelers lock up their Pro Bowl kicker for the long term, and while this won’t help them much in terms of their cap situation, will help the special teams for the long haul. As I wrote in the “why it won’t happen” section, the Steelers should be okay with waiting to see how Johnson does in 2022 before offering him a new contract. I see one contract, not two.
Check out yesterday’s prediction in the link below:
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2022 regular season.