Nov 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Must Look To Extend Defensive End Cameron Heyward

With decisions revolving around the Pittsburgh Steelers’ current free agents and what to do to plug holes in the 2014 NFL Draft, Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert is going to have his hands full for a few months.

Tied in with those decisions is a potential contract extension for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Dec 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) sacks Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell (17) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

However, Colbert and company must also have their eyes looking ahead to 2015 as it pertains to defensive end Cameron Heyward, who is set to become a free agent after next season.

That alone is why Colbert needs to get an extension done with the Ohio State product this offseason.

If that fails to happen, the Steelers could find themselves in a bind as they may be unable to keep another good young player.

Heyward was arguably Pittsburgh’s best defender once he finally took over as the starting defensive end in Week 6, finishing the year with 59 tackles and five sacks.

At times he was an absolute beast and seemed to get better every week.

It’s been quite some time since the Steelers had a defensive end that could be as disruptive as Heyward, so it makes a lot of sense to get something done quite early into the offseason.

Heyward not only improved greatly against the run, but showed the knack to collapse the pocket and pressure the quarterback.

That is a valuable asset to have out of a 3-4 end.

If the Steelers don’t get something done with Heyward, they could watch his value skyrocket with another big season next year.

If that is the case he could very well price himself out of a return to Pittsburgh.

In the past two years, the Steelers have watched Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis get big money elsewhere and could see the same thing happen to outside linebacker Jason Worilds this offseason.

If they aren’t proactive in their attempts to keep Heyward in black and gold, they could see the same thing happen with him next year.

Tags: Cameron Heyward Pittsburgh Steelers

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