Posted by Will Brinson
The first first-rounder that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin ever drafted -- Lawrence Timmons -- is going to end up staying with the team for a long time, as the team announced the linebacker signed a six-year, $50 million extension on Tuesday morning.
That's a hefty contract, but it's also a deal that has the Steelers fingerprints all over it, in three specific ways.
One, Timmons is a stud, but he's not a "known stud," if that makes sense.
Lacking the household-name cache of a James Harrison or the awards and public recognition of other members of the defense, Timmons comes at a pretty solid value for under $10 million a year through his prime. It's pretty standard practice for the Steelers
It's also standard practice for the Steelers to sign "their guys." As we detailed before last year's Super Bowl, the Steelers aren't exactly fond of constructing a roster made of expensive free agents. They draft well and develop those players even better -- Timmons and LaMarr Woodley (their second-round pick in 2007) both signed big deals this offseason and are now locked in for the foreseeable future at linebacker.
Additionally, the Steelers signed Timmons in for the remainder of his prime -- he was set to become a free agent right around the time he turned 26. Now Pittsburgh has the rights to Timmons and Woodley until they turn 32.
If this sounds familiar, it should. Both James Harrison and James Farrior signed deals that brought them to their early 30s. The Steelers then signed those two linebackers to an additional deal, taking them to the likely end of their respective careers.
Timmons will get one more good contract when he hits his 30s. Depending on how he's producing at that point, it might come from the Steelers.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.