The Pittsburgh Steelers signed safety Troy Polamalu to a new three-year contract, keeping the veteran in Pittsburgh for awhile longer.
What does this extension mean though? Are the Pittsburgh Steelers still confident in Polamalu’s ability as a player or is it a move to make sure the long-time Steeler finishes his playing days in the steel city?
Former Chigago Bears’ linebacker Brian Urlacher seems to believe the second. Urlacher expressed his frustration with the Bears’ decision to let Devin Hester go while using the Steelers signing Polamalu and Heath Miller as an example of teams signing veterans for “loyalty” purposes.
The Steelers resigned Polamalu because he’s still capable of playing at a high level. The “loyalty” factor is just an added bonus.
Polamalu last season recorded 50 tackles, had five forced fumbles (most by safety last season), two sacks and a pair of interceptions.
Polamalu has lost a step in the secondary and he isn’t the exact player he once was. He’s battled injuries and will turn 33 in April. However, despite slowing down, he’s still a quality player.
Polamalu is one of the most versatile players the NFL has ever seen. His versatility makes him such a dangerous player, whether it’s in the secondary or making plays at the line of scrimmage.
The Steelers last season often threw Polamalu up on the line as a linebacker and had him work his magic that way. This is something they could try this season should they be able to get younger in the secondary. I’m not saying he’s changing positions, I’m saying the Steelers will use him out of his element because he’s able to do so.
Polamalu’s unorthodox style of play has allowed him to excel as a playmaker over the years. The Steelers are still confident in his ability to continue that trend. Especially after a season where playmaking on the defensive side was a concern.
The new three-year deal shows that the Steelers still want him and Polamalu wants to stay there as well. I’m not so sure Polamalu can go a full three seasons at being top-notch but he’s certainly good to go for next season. If he doesn’t make it all three years on this contract the Steelers will recognize this and cut him loose.
They’re not afraid to part ways with long-time faces of the franchise. Examples being Hines Ward, Aaron Smith and most recently Larry Foote. They know when it’s time to move on and they’ll do so when Polamalu’s time comes.
For now though, the safety will remain a Steeler and hope to help shift the awful secondary of last season into a much, much better one.