Ryan Clark Should He Stay or Should He Go in 2014?

RC

Steeler Nation it’s well-known that Pittsburgh Steeler safety Ryan Clark’s contract with the Steelers ends after the 2013 season.

Ryan Clark has made it clear that he wishes to play beyond the 2013 season for the Pittsburgh Steelers and retire a Steeler. The questions that remain are do the Steelers want to extend his contract beyond 2013 and is that a wise decision?

There is no doubt Ryan Clark has been an integral part of the Steeler’s top ranked defense, past and present. Since Clark arrived as a free agent in 2006, he has established himself as one of the hardest hitting safeties in football. Clark is known for his physical play against the pass and the run. Clark is also a very football smart player who rarely gets caught playing out of position on a play.

You also cannot disregard the chemistry Clark has with strong safety Troy Polamalu . Ryan Clark and this uncanny chemistry with Polamalu frees Polamalu to take many of the gambles and make many of the big plays he has become known for.

Clark shows no signs of slowing down. On January 25, 2012, he was named to his first career Pro Bowl replacing the injured Ed Reed. Clark also had a good 2012 season. He finished the season with a career high 102 tackles along with 7 pass defenses ,2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions.

Clark has been a great Steeler on and off the field involved in many charity events and always lending a helping hand. Ryan Clark is a Steeler fan favorite.

Now that we have looked at the pros of having Ryan Clark as a Steeler, we must look at the possible cons of signing Clark to an extension beyond the 2013 season.

The 2013 season will be Ryan Clark’s 12th season in the NFL. In October of 2013, Ryan Clark turns 34 years old. How much can Clark have left in the tank for 2014 and beyond? The NFL is not a place where players in their mid thirties thrive. That’s just a fact of life in the NFL. Factor in Clark’s physical style of play and history of concussions and one has to wonder if the odds are against his body holding up much longer.

The Steelers also have to be weighing the fact that Troy Polamalu’s contract is up after 2014. How much money do you want to sink into two thirty something safeties that play with a reckless hard-hitting style and may be a play away from their last?

Don’t forget that the Steelers drafted promising rookie Shamarko Thomas and by 2014 he will have a year of experience under his belt. Ironically Clark and Polamalu have taken Thomas under their wings and have begun mentoring the young rookie. A move that shows how special Clark and Polamalu are not only as players but as people.

If the Steelers do extend Clark’s contract it may have to be on a year to year plan. Clark must understand that his role may change along with his salary, much like Steeler running back Jerome Bettis did late in his career. The way the Steelers run their salary cap plan there is just not much money to pay an aging veteran that is near the end of his career.

So Steeler Nation what do you think? Should the Steelers extend Clark’s contract beyond 2013? Or Should they thank him for his years of great service and wish him the best?

Please vote below and feel free to leave a comment

 

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