As Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier enters the second-last year of his rookie deal, he has the financial interests of future young players in mind.

Shazier will make $1.716 million this season, a figure that will jump to $8.718 million in 2018 because the Steelers exercised the fifth-year option in his rookie deal.

Shazier doesn’t think it’s right that young players are forced in to slotted rookie contracts for the first years of their careers.

“At the end of the day, if you’re playing at (a high) level, you should be able to get that opportunity,” said Shazier, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “At the end of the day, that’s between you and the team. If the team wants to do that, it’s great. … If you play at that level, you should be able to re-up whenever you want to.”

Shazier went on to say he thinks the way rookie contracts work should be negotiated by the league and players’ union during the next CBA talks, particularly with respect to the fifth-year option that applies only to first-round picks.

“Sometimes guys have to wait five years. Other guys don’t. But that’s what they agreed on in the past. Next time we’ve just got to do a better job of structuring what we want to do. At the end of the day, if you play at a high level, things should pan out for you.”

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