• Cam Heyward

Cam Heyward (Photo : REUTERS)

Defensive end Cameron Heyward has agreed to a six-year deal worth $59.25 million with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. 

Heyward was about to play out on a $6.97 million option in the final year of his deal during the 2015 season that becomes voided once a long-term deal is reached.

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The Steelers used their fifth-year option on his rookie deal last spring.

Heyward is now the Steelers' second-highest-paid player behind Ben Roethlisberger.

The 26-year-old pass-rusher says that while it will take a massive effort to achieve the team's goal of winning the Super Bowl, finalizing his deal allows him to focus on the task at hand.

Heyward feels that his contract negotiations is a distraction and is happy have six years not worrying about it and to just think about playing football.

The defensive end said that he is looking forward to the mouth-watering the possibilities of more one-on-one matchups for defensive linemen. 

Heyward is coming off his best season in four years in the NFL, posting  33 tackles, 20 assists and 7.5 sacks. He is also the first Steelers defensive end since Aaron Smith in 2004 to tie or lead the team in sacks.

It was also the fourth straight season that Heyward appeared in all 16 games. 

With a pass rush that was unable to pressure opponents consistently, the Steelers' defense slipped to 18th in yards allowed and 27th against the pass.

Still, with Heyward, the Steelers managed to capture the AFC North title last season.

Drafted 31st overall in 2011, the Ohio State product steadily improved each season since recording only a sack and 10 tackles as a rookie.

Heyward now has 106 tackles, 15 sacks and 12 passes defended in 64 consecutive starts, which is tied for the third-longest active streak among NFL defensive ends.

He is now the highest-paid 5-technique end without a Pro Bowl appearance.