The big news in Steeler Country on Tuesday was the announcement that Lawrence Timmons had agreed to a new six-year, $50 million contract that will keep him in black and gold through 2016. The stud linebacker had one year left on the five-year rookie contract he signed in 2007. To the best of my knowledge, the financial terms of the deal beyond the year and total dollar amount have yet to be disclosed. Consequently, it’s hard to assess whether the Steelers saved salary cap space with the transaction.
In the immediate wake of the news, Ed Bouchette wrote that the Steelers were likely done negotiating contract extensions this offseason. The Steelers have historically put aside anything contract related once the regular season starts, so it’s assumed that once September 11 rolls around, Polamalu will be forced to play the ’11 season without a new deal in his back pocket, and that the two sides will resume negotiations once the season ends (hopefully in February).
After practice on Tuesday, Polamalu was mobbed by reporters seeking comment about his situation and whether or not he’d be upset if he hadn’t signed a new deal prior to the start of the ’11 season.
“These contract talks should stay between me and my agent. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
It’s not the end of the world if a new contract is not agreed upon before September 11, but one can understand why Polamalu might be a bit irked were he not to lock down one final chunk of guaranteed money before suiting up again in ‘11. But Polamalu is hardly struggling financially. He was paid handsomely with his second contract and he’s done just fine for himself in the endorsement world.
It’s hard to imagine a fan-favorite like Polamalu not being taken care of eventually, even if it might be somewhat of a financial gamble for the Rooneys to open their wallet too liberally with the oft-injured Polamalu. But given how the Steelers have navigated retaining veterans in recent years, I think it’s just a matter of when Polamalu will sign one final contract to retire a Pittsburgh Steeler.