Most of us thought that the David DeCastro resigning was something that would get done quickly this offseason. Well it’s roughly 24 hours before the final preseason game, and DeCastro is still unsigned. The All-Pro guard is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and can become an unrestricted free agent in 2017 if not resigned. There are two major factors holding this deal up. The first being the huge deal Kelechi Osemele got from the Oakland Raiders this Spring. Osemele blew the market away for guards away with his 5 year $60 million deal. The next closest contract for a guard is Mike Iupati at only $40 million with Arizona. That deal certainly drove up DeCastro’s asking price, complicating negotiations with the Steelers. The next factor holding things up is the Le’veon Bell situation. Bell is also in the last year of his contract, and this is where things get complicated. Pittsburgh likely does not want to sign Bell to a long term deal given his off the field issues. In a perfect world, DeCastro would get a long term deal done and the Steelers would use the franchise tag on Bell next offseason. This would give the Steelers another year to see if Bell has really put his problems behind him. If neither player is signed this offseason, Pittsburgh will be put in the unenviable situation of choosing which player to tag and which to let walk in free agency. That’s something the team must avoid at all costs, and that’s surely not lost on DeCastro’s representatives.
It seems now that David DeCastro holds all the cards in this negotiation. Pittburgh will have to pay significantly more then they had intended if they want to get this deal done. This is cause for concern for Steeler fans, because we know how reluctant the team is to overpaying players. If and when this deal does get done, it could have a ripple effect on other contracts going forward. The Steelers have at least two huge contracts to get done in the near future. Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell are in need of new deals, and Pittsburgh is not exactly overflowing with salary cap room. This next year or so will be the most difficult in Kevin Colbert’s tenure as GM. It will be interesting to see how he navigates through this, and what the Steelers will look like in 2017 and beyond.