Deals falling in place

You have to give Steelers' chief negotiator Omar Khan his due. While other teams are still trying to figure out what kind of food their are going to serve their players during offseason workouts, the Steelers have already signed three of their draft picks.

Why is that important?

Quite simply, the sooner these guys get signed, the more quickly they will be able to forget about that part of their lives and concentrate strictly on football.

Every player says that they don't worry about their contract situation. But in reality, we all know that's not the case.

Not that the players are to be blamed for that. They have every right to be concerned about their contracts, much the same way that Joe Lunchpail thinks about his paycheck.

It's a far different than a player already under contract worrying about the future.

The Steelers have a number of high-profile players heading into the final season of their contract, headed by wide receiver Hines Ward and nose tackle Casey Hampton. The team has promised to take care of Ward's contract first and the team is currently in negotiations to do just that.

Until that contract gets completed, the rest of the Steelers' potential free agents will be in a holding pattern. For better or worse, Ward is, after all, the heart and soul of this Steelers' team.

Some have called Ward a singles hitter, their point being that you don't pay singles hitters big money. But that's a ridiculous generalization.

Yes, over the course of his career, Ward has not been a deep threat. And at this point in his career, that's not going to change.

But there have been plenty of singles hitters who have been deserving of big money. Ichiro Suzuki comes to mind as just such a player.

If you have put up prolific production - and Ward, like Ichiro has - you're a little more than just a singles hitter.

Khan, with the guiding hand of the Rooney family, will get the deal done, just as he has been getting the rookie deals done in regular fashion.

And once Ward's deal is complete, the team will start taking care of some of the other potential free agents.


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