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- Steelers GM Omar Khan happy to have contracts locked up before training camp
Steelers GM Omar Khan happy to have contracts locked up before training camp
As news of hold-outs and hold-ins around the NFL are making headlines, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in a much different situation as they begin 2023 training camp. After signing Alex Highsmith to a four-year extension last week and getting their final drafted rookie under contract this week, the Steelers are in a situation where there are no ongoing negotiations in terms of contracts as they begin training camp.
Before the Steelers took the field for their first practice in Latrobe, Steelers general manager Omar Khan spoke to the media. With so many contract issues going on around the NFL, it was only natural Khan was asked about the current status of the Steelers when it comes to any outstanding contract for the 2023 season.
“Right now there’s nothing going on.” Khan stated. “We’re not going to close the door on anything, but right now I can tell you there’s nothing.”
While there are players on the team who are in the final year of their contract, such as cornerback Levi Wallace, it appears there is not any pressing need to get a contract done because it’s a situation where the player may not be participating in practice during negotiations.
With contracts being finalized during training camp with wide receiver Diontae Johnson last season, and outside linebacker T.J. Watt not participating in training camp during the entire 2021 preseason, the Steelers are in a much different situation this year. Khan was asked about the last time the Steelers have been in a situation with no looming contract negotiations entering training camp.
“I haven’t sat back and done the research on it, but it’s nice to be in that position right now.”
One reason the Steelers are in this position is because of coming to terms with Alex Highsmith less than a week ago which added four years and $68 million beyond this upcoming season which was the final year of his rookie contract. Khan was asked about the situation when it came to Highsmith’s deal.
“Every one of these negotiations is a little different,” Khan explained. “It was just something that was able to come together early and we’re glad we got it done when we did.”
Although getting Alex Highsmith extended was an issue that did not have a participation deadline looming, another contract that was signed this week was a much different scenario. Already having all their other draft picks from the 2023 NFL draft under contract, Joey Porter Jr. signed his deal just a head of training camp and did not have a hold-out situation. Khan was asked what went into the lingering negotiations with Porter in terms of his rookie contract.
“The fact that there was a quarterback behind him I think maybe had something to do with it, but we got it done in time for camp so there’s no issues from our end.”
As the Steelers take the field for their first practice on Thursday, they were in the rare position of having all players expected to be on the field and singularly focused on the upcoming season. After speaking with media Wednesday, head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that no players were starting the year on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
Stay tuned to Steel Curtain Network’s continued coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 training camp.