With many teams starting to feel the effects of the new salary cap that goes in effect this season, the Steelers are no different. Some teams like the Cleveland Browns are some $33 million under and have to spend that money and then there is team like the Pittsburgh Steelers whom are $10 million over and now are running around restructuring contracts and releasing unwanted contracts. That brings us to the 35-year-old Hines Ward. The 14 year veteran has played for only the Steelers and would like to keep it that way. Hines Ward is the 8th player in NFL history to reach 1, 000 career receptions. Hines Ward is also the Steelers’s all-time leading receiver. With all that said, the Steelers might not be willing to hold on to one of the best players to wear a Steelers jersey.
Cornerback Ike Taylor and linebackers Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley have agreed to restructure their contracts in hopes of getting under the salary cap. Ward’s contract has two years left, each year worth $4 million. Ward has openly stated and has posted on facebook that he’s already told the Steelers he’s willing to work with them altering his deal so he can remain with the Steelers.
General manager Kevin Colbert said the team is in the middle of making free agent evaluations and won’t make any move on Ward until that process is complete.
“That will give us an idea about what else is out there, where we stand with restructuring contracts and what we will have to do as far as possibly terminating people, both immediately and after the fact if we decide we want to add some players (in free agency),” Colbert said.
Are the Steelers really wanting to give up money to keep an aging Hines Ward on the team? At this point it does not look like it. If the Steelers were serious about wanting to keep Ward, there would already be a deal in place, there would already be a reconstructed contract. Many sources have told me that the only way they will bring him back is if he takes the minimum, but is Ward willing to do this? A 14 year veteran, Super Bowl MVP, franchises best receiver and the team pretty much has said we want you to play for next to nothing or move on.
Then there is the Hines Ward side of the situation. Ward is one of the hardest working guys on that team. He is a leader. He plays a position that puts his health and body in serious danger every single play. With that said, do you take a restructured deal and suck up your pride so you can remain a Steeler? Does he go ahead a hang it up and retire? There is no shame in that, hell he has played 14 years, has rings, and will be in the Hall of Fame. Or does he move on to a team that appreciates him more and gives him the money he deserves? Then again he would have to learn a whole new system and spend a year or two getting the timing down with a new quarterback. This hasn’t worked out well for Ochocinco, Moss, or TO, so why would Hines Ward be any different?
My opinion, Hines Ward is a excellent wide reciever and is deserving to at least half of the salary that is due to him. Anything less, I would walk. To a diiferent team? No. I would just call it a career. Hines Ward puts everything into his game and if the Steelers can’t restructure enough contracts to keep him at a fair price, then he shouldn’t have to put his health and body on the line. Retire and work for the organiztion that you have gave your all for 14 years. Ward could be a wide receiver coach or some front office job.