Ryan Clark likely will become an unrestricted free agent Friday, his agent believes, and may do so without receiving an offer from the Steelers.
Joel Turner told the Post-Gazette Tuesday that "If I had to take an educated guess, I'd say the probability of him being a free agent is greater than him being signed."
Turner began negotiating for a new contract for the Steelers' starting free safety one year ago and said he has never received an offer. With two days left before Clark can begin free negotiations with other NFL teams, the sides are nowhere near a deal.
"They haven't put actual dollar figures on paper," Turner said. "We've put together several different proposals of various levels and at this point, it's probably going to be a test of wills."
Clark told ESPN Radio 1250 that even though the Steelers identified him as a "priority" he does not feel that way because of how the negotiations have gone. He pointed to a number of Steelers who signed contract extensions last year as well as the new contract reached last week with Casey Hampton and the franchise tag placed on Jeff Reed.
"I haven't had an offer yet," Clark told the radio station's The Drive show.
"Nothing put to paper or said verbally. We want to get this deal done."
Steelers executives, including director of football operations Kevin Colbert, announced their three priorities to sign before free agency began were Clark, Hampton and Reed.
"You hear so much about being a priority and things like that," Clark said. "I mean, if you think about it, there have been a number of guys who have signed a contract and I haven't been offered -- Heath Miller, Justin Hartwig, Brett Keisel, Casey [Hampton], Jeff. So it's not like one guy got signed and the well ran dry and there was nothing they could do. It hasn't been that. If you think about priorities and prioritizing, obviously I was way down on the list as they go."
Clark said he is not asking for an average of $6 1/2 or $7 million annually in a new contract. Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu signed a new five-year contract in 2007 worth $33 million or $6.6 million annually.
"I know how much Troy makes and I know how much respect I have for Troy as a player and how much I love him as a friend," Clark said. "I don't see myself as Troy's [equal], I don't see myself having to get that same type of pay. So it's not a situation, 'Oh, you have to pay me how Troy's getting paid.' I would be a fool to do that. "
Clark complained that he is not getting the same kind of "love" shown other players who signed new deals with the Steelers.
"They showed their love and commitment to Jeff even though it's only one year, $2.8 million [and] Keisel, Miller, Hartwig, all these guys have been shown some type of love that says 'You know what, we want you here, we're willing to work with you to get you here.' I haven't gotten it."
Clark reiterated that he and his family want to remain in Pittsburgh but that it is out of his hands. His agent said while there have been no offers from the ballclub, they have talked in "parameters."
"They've talked with us almost ad nauseum, and it's not like parameters haven't exchanged hands," Turner said. "That's how you negotiate. But obviously at this point, we have different values than the organization. I feel he's the best free safety out there and, if the Steelers do not sign him, it will leave a gaping hole in their defense."
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