The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't do much in free agency thus far, and by what Art Rooney II said last Friday, they very well might be done making moves. The team has some money left in the bank which should be focused on extending some current players' contracts before the season begins. In some instances, it could save the team valuable salary cap space to sign draft picks, etc. Take a look at who is due for an extension.
Cameron Heyward would certainly top the list. The team picked up his 5th year club option this season, and due to that he is making $6.9 million dollars this season and is set to be a free agent in 2016. Heyward has arguably been the team's best defensive player the past two seasons, collecting 12.5 sacks over that time period. Heyward's new deal could be constructed to not only keep him in a Steelers uniform for years to come, but also to lessen the salary cap hit on the team by reducing his first year pay and giving him a healthy signing bonus.
Kelvin Beachum might not make many people's lists for players worthy of an extension, but the team would be wise to try and lock up their left tackle considering he is in the final year of his rookie contract and making only $1.5 million dollars in 2015. Beachum is the smallest left tackle in the NFL, but it doesn't make him ineffective. Rather, Beachum has held his own against superb pass rushers like Baltimore Ravens Terrell Suggs, and has grossly out performed right tackle Marcus Gilbert who received a new contract prior to the 2014 season.
David DeCastro is slowly becoming one of the premier guards in the NFL, and his contract certainly doesn't reflect it. Entering his final year of his rookie contract, he is making a similar amount to fellow line mate Kelvin Beachum. DeCastro is owed $1.3 million dollars in 2015, including a $300,000 roster bonus, and will be looking to get a healthy new contract keeping him and his talents in the steel city for years to come.
Steve McLendon becomes a free agent after the 2015 season, and the Steelers will have to make a decision on whether the team wants to move forward with Daniel McCullers at nose tackle, or to extend McLendon. Although a shoulder injury hindered McLendon's availability and play in 2014, he has done a fine job filling in for the perennial Pro Bowler Casey Hampton. If the Steelers want McLendon around for a few more seasons, now will be the time to get the deal done as he is due to make $2.25 million this season.
Mike Adams is also in the final year of his rookie contract, and has become some what of an insurance policy for both tackle positions along the offensive line. Adams wouldn't need a huge contract, in comparison to others on this list, but could be locked up for a few more seasons at a low rate if the team thinks he can remain a quality insurance policy. Don't be shocked to see the team allow Adams to test free agent waters after the 2015 season in hopes of re-signing him with a lesser value, but if the Steelers select a tackle in the upcoming NFL Draft, he could push Adams out the door if he proves more worthy in training camp and the preseason.
There aren't too many stories in the NFL better than Sean Spence's. A true comeback story of a man once told he would never play the game again to being a large contributor to the 2014 AFC North Division champions last season. Spence will become a free agent in 2016 and the team might want to think about securing his services to ensure they continue to have quality depth at the inside linebacker position.
Obviously not all these moves can be made before the start of the 2015 season, but some of these should be done sooner than later. The team has developed a great young corps of players, and would be wise to keep as many as they can to help keep the team competitive for years to come.