Hampton told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review earlier this week that "It will be a problem" and that it would be unfair if the Steelers used the franchise tag on him. I understand that the 32-year-old nose tackle sees his next contract as his last big pay day, but calling the franchise tag unfair is just wrong.
Last season, the franchise tag paid out more than $6 million for defensive tackles. That will go up this year when the NFL releases the numbers next week. How is making more than $6 million for one year unfair?
One should also consider a few things from the Steelers point of view. Two seasons ago, Hampton showed up so out of shape that coach Mike Tomlin deactivated him until he got into playing shape. Heck, he was so large he was nicknamed Big Snack. This is also a player who finds himself on the sidelines when the opposition is in passing situations.
That last statement is not a knock on Hampton. He was a pro bowler this year, and deservedly so. He is a big reason the Steelers have shut down opposing running games in recent history. He isn't on the field in passing downs because his job is to clog running lanes. Any pressure on the quarterback is an added bonus with Hampton. But, it still has to be taken into consideration whether you want to give a very large extension to a player that usually only plays two out of every three downs.
Hampton also needs to realize he is playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It is not often you see Steelers players going to the media whining about their contracts, because it doesn't work with the Rooney family. A perfect example is Hines Ward. He was unhappy with his contract years ago and actually held out for a little bit. The Steelers told him they don't negotiate with players who don't report. So what happened? Ward came to camp without a new deal, and then signed one shortly after. Complaining and threatening to be a problem is not the way to approach it.
While $6 million is plenty fair for Hampton, I can also understand how going into an uncapped year he wants to get a bigger pay day than would be expected in a capped year. But taking your complaints to the media is not the way to go. Leave it behind closed doors. It's the Steelers way, and the only way you have a shot at getting what you want.
Rush - Limelight