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A Pipe Dream Ends... Aaron Smith Signs

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Smith one of best-paid defenders in club history

By John Clayton


The Pittsburgh Steelers reached a six-year agreement with defensive end Aaron Smith to make him one of the highest-paid defensive players in team history.

Aaron Smith


Smith, a restricted free agent, first signed his one-year, $1.227 million tender Wednesday morning to avert a holdout. Then he signed an extension for five years that will appear on sheets as an average of a little less than $5 million a year.

Overall, the two contracts total $25 million for six years and include a $5.5 million signing bonus. That's more than the six-year, $23 million deal given to linebacker Jason Gildon and the six-year, $22 million deal given to linebacker Joey Porter.

The only defensive player on the team who can top that is cornerback Chad Scott, who signed a six-year, $25.25 million contract last season.

Smith, 26, is one of the best young defensive ends in football. He had eight sacks last season, rare for an end in a 3-4 scheme that usually has the linebackers make the sacks. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound end has started 31 games in three seasons and has 12 sacks.

Signing Smith means that the team has locked the entire defensive front seven and the cornerbacks for the next five or more years.

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Which is why the turning down of Adams so early was easier to stomach than, say the Skins of 2000 or 2001. The desperation isn't there, so the focus is rebuiliding with younger players. Those Skins players who are ready to leave in within two years are clearly identified (Smith, Green, Armstead, - maybe 3 for him?, Wuerffel and Wilkinson), with a turnover funneling in just right.

Pittsburgh has been steady overall the past 6 years and solidifying your D, like us, them and the boys, maybe the Colts, makes a world of difference in prepping for the next level.

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The Steelers on one of the shining examples of a team who drafts smartly, develops their own players, and concentrates on resigning their own free agents as a philosphy.

I don't think Kordell Stewart is a Super Bowl QB, but I still think Pittsburg is capable of winning it all because they are so solid everywhere else.

I think they serve as a very nice model.

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