Heyward generated five sacks in 2013 before notching career-best 7.5 sacks in 2014, helping Pittsburgh to an AFC North championship.

And now Tuitt will have plenty of time to do it. Heyward joins a core that includes Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey and wide receiver Antonio Brown, all of whom are signed through at least the 2017 season as Pittsburgh tries to get back to its status as one of the NFL’s elite franchises.

Now that Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward has signed his new long-term deal, the organization could very well decide to lock up another young player for an extended amount of time after the team arrives at Latrobe for training camp next Friday.

His current streak of playing in 64 consecutive games is tied for third longest among defensive ends in the NFL.

Heyward’s future never really was in doubt. The new money average of $10.45 million a year is higher than Corey Liuget of the San Diego Chargers and falls just behind Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints. That’s huge production for a 288-pound end in a 3-4 defense. “We all look up to him to become better”.

The Steelers used three of their first four 2015 draft picks to improve a bottom-of-the-barrel defense, starting with rush linebacker Bud Dupree, taken 22nd overall. His salary last season was $1,289,322 and his cap hit $2,133,418.

Now, onward to Kelvin Beachum.

Before Thursday’s deal, Heyward was due to make $6,969,000 this season after the Steelers exercised the option for the fifth year of his rookie contract.

Heyward, a former Ohio State star and son of former Pitt and National Football League running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, started 29 games over the past two seasons, recording 12.5 sacks.

“I grew up admiring the Steelers I bleed black & gold”, Heyward tweeted.