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Decision on Ward not required by March 1

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

On Friday, Jason La Canfora reported that the Steelers won’t be keeping receiver Hines Ward.  On Saturday, Ward said he won’t be retiring.

Thereafter, ESPN.com claimed that a clause in Ward’s contract requires a decision to be made by March 1.  A source with knowledge of the contract tells PFT that’s simply not true.

The contract contains no clause that would, for example, make any portion of Ward’s salary guaranteed or compel the Steelers to pay him a seven-figure bonus, or any bonus for that matter, as of March 1.  Instead, the contract promises Ward a non-guaranteed base salary of $4 million, which would become fully guaranteed under the labor deal only if he’s on the Week One roster.

Thus, as long as the Steelers are willing and able to carry the $4 million under the salary cap, which kicks in for the 2012 league year on March 13, they will be able retain Ward.

The source also tells PFT that the Steelers have yet to make a decision on Ward.  With Ward publicly stating that he’s willing to cut his pay, the Steelers could ask him to drop his salary to the 10-plus-year veteran minimum of $925,000.

In fact, the Steelers could reduce the cap hit arising from his 2012 base salary of $925,000 all the way to $540,000 by cutting Ward and re-signing him to a one-year contract pursuant to the terms of Article 27 of the CBA, which encourages the retention of veteran players by utilizing in certain circumstances the minimum salary for a second-year player as the cap number.

The ultimate questions are whether Ward would be willing to drop his pay to $925,000, and whether the Steelers would be willing to spend that much.  At this point, those questions haven’t been answered.

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22 Responses to “Decision on Ward not required by March 1”
  1. 92and94and51and56 says: Feb 11, 2012 11:15 PM

    If he’ll take the 10+ vet minimum, give it to him.

  2. ezmoover says: Feb 11, 2012 11:21 PM

    Washed up, cheap shot, has been. Some people can’t take a hint.

    BUH BYE

  3. hrdcorbengalsfan says: Feb 11, 2012 11:27 PM

    Does anyone really care about this?

  4. jollyrob68 says: Feb 11, 2012 11:35 PM

    Time to retire. I love Hines but I want Jerrico Cotchery NOW.

  5. steelerhatersarelosers says: Feb 11, 2012 11:41 PM

    Ezmover…you are a jealous loser who has NO clue as to what a totally classy and fantastic football player Hines Ward is. Go cry in your pillow because you don’t have a player like Ward on whatever loser team you like.

  6. hedleykow says: Feb 12, 2012 12:09 AM

    Oh, Hines Ward.

    At first I thought you meant Ward Cleaver.

  7. blueblood86 says: Feb 12, 2012 12:09 AM

    Hey Jerry Reese sign him to replace manningham and no I do not want Steve smith back.

  8. vincentbojackson says: Feb 12, 2012 1:14 AM

    ezmoover says:

    Washed up, cheap shot, has been.

    ———————

    You forgot to list “future hall of famer”

  9. benmci says: Feb 12, 2012 2:10 AM

    Hines Ward- the Steelers are starting to show their true colors, force the OC to retire, bring in Todd Haley without consulting the coach. Yes the Rooneys have all the rights but they put Tomlin in charge of their team only to undermine him. I hate the Steelers so its soooo sweet to see them self destruct internally. Noll was a cry baby, Bill Cowher was a chronic whiner (not winner) and Tomlin- well undecided on him

  10. charlieharper04 says: Feb 12, 2012 5:34 AM

    Not a Steelers fan but Ward played WR like a man, he wasn’t afraid of contact and he also did something better then more WRs besides catch, guy could block for the running game to.

  11. gotcaughtcheating says: Feb 12, 2012 6:12 AM

    Signed another bitter Ravens fan — 2011-12 AFC North Champs!!!!!!!

  12. goformarty says: Feb 12, 2012 7:18 AM

    His salary will also be guaranteed if he is unable to play due to injury sustained while participating in team workouts, OTAs, mini-camps or training camp. If the Steelers delay their decision they assume the risk.

  13. steelerhypocrite says: Feb 12, 2012 7:34 AM

    A lot of talk about a guy who would be 5th on the depth chart…let it go.

  14. slickytfox says: Feb 12, 2012 7:56 AM

    Something to consider. The Steelers released special teams standout Arnaz Battle. Early in his career, Hines Ward was a special teams standout as well. Although he may have lost a step or two, Hines’ ferocity as a player is still evident. I get the impression that Hines is aware that he is more of a role player going forward in the Steelers plans and would not be surprised if he would accept a vet minimum salary AND a reduced role just. Somewhere in Pittsburgh, there are post career opportunities for many years to come if he retires a Steeler. Not so much if he finishes out his career elsewhere. I have to believe that if the Steelers think Hines can contribute to the team, they will give him the opportunity to do so and Hines will be gracious when considering the big picture. I don’t think his performance as an analyst at the Super Bowl was good enough to place him in a national role.

  15. east96st says: Feb 12, 2012 9:03 AM

    “Hey Jerry Reese sign him to replace manningham and no I do not want Steve smith back.”

    I’m going to assume you’re still drunk from the Super Bowl celebrations. You don’t lose Manningham, one of the fastest guys on the whole team, and replace him with a WR that, due to age, now has the speed of a blocking TE. I think Hines is a HOFer, but his playing days are pretty much over. LAST thing the Giants need is old, slow WR. Should NY bring back Matt Dodge if Weatherford leaves, too? Have some common sense, man.

  16. canetic says: Feb 12, 2012 9:11 AM

    Ward shouldn’t have been on the team this year, let alone next year. It’s over. Good career, but it’s over. Welcome to the booth.

  17. flakazoid says: Feb 12, 2012 9:52 AM

    hrdcorbengalsfan says:
    Does anyone really care about this?
    —————————————-
    No, we’d much rather hear about yet another Bengals player being charged with a crime

    Where’s that malaluga link?

  18. nickster2k says: Feb 12, 2012 11:11 AM

    ezmoover must be Keith Rivers’ cousin. Still cryiing over getting knocked out by an undersized WR.

  19. agc99 says: Feb 12, 2012 12:22 PM

    Hines can come back as a coach. He’s not going to get on the field, doesn’t play special teams and will be taking the spot of a young player that could develop. I’m tired of hearing Hines cry to the media. Face the facts it’s time to get on with the next chapter of your life. The steelers owe you nothing. No more Hines Ward stories.

  20. clayton43 says: Feb 12, 2012 12:24 PM

    I would prefer to have Cotchry…At this stage he is better and faster and would be a person that will be around for another few years and probably would be competing for 3rd WR with Sanders. If they keep Hines I would be fine with that but at the same time I know he is at the end… Would be sweet to have him play one more and go out like the Bus did but I understand that isnt so likely. I dont see this as a loyalty issue.. The Steelers have always let guys go when on the downside of career and make good sound decisions of when that is. If he stays is cool and for whatever reasons he doesnt..I am cool with that too… Would be different if we were not loaded at the WR position. Either way, love him and always will and he will go down as one of the most favorite Steelers of all time in a long list of them.

  21. Deb says: Feb 12, 2012 3:41 PM

    If Hines wants to play and is willing to take a substantial paycut to do so, the Steelers will try to work it out. And that’s fine since he’s still able to contribute. If the team doesn’t feel it’s going to work out, they’ll discuss that with him, and I’m sure he’ll retire. Whatever happens, it will be amicable and finish with Hines in a Steelers uniform. And LaCanfora needs another hobby.

  22. raven4life21 says: Feb 12, 2012 3:55 PM

    steelerhatersarelosers says:
    Feb 11, 2012 11:41 PM
    Ezmover…you are a jealous loser who has NO clue as to what a totally classy and fantastic football player Hines Ward is. Go cry in your pillow because you don’t have a player like Ward on whatever loser team you like.

    ========

    Classy eh? i remember when Ed Reeds brother died right before the AFC Champ game and after the Steelers squeaked by a victory Hines had the audacity to say afterwards to reporters “I bet Ed Reed will remember this game forever”… yeah REALLY CLASSY there guy… rub it in that the man just lost his brother and wanted to win the game for him bad… and Hines was smiling the entire time he said that… the man is FAR FROM CLASSY… btw… your screenname says it all buddy… take the black and gold needle out of your arm for a second and you MAY actually think clearly

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