The Steelers will cut off contract negotiations with all their players come Sunday, including Allen, who will become an unrestricted free agent in March.
Allen, as he has all preseason, refused to address his contract situation on Wednesday.
“I am working on Cleveland right now,” Allen said in reference to Sunday’s game against the Browns. “That’s my focus. All of that other stuff is not my concern right now. We have a game. My thought is that everything takes care of itself. I don’t think about the contract thing and anything like that.”
Allen is in the final year of his rookie deal just like Lewis was heading into the 2012 season.
The Steelers decided not to sign the unproven Lewis before the 2012 season, then priced himself out of Pittsburgh with a solid campaign. Lewis signed a 5-year, $26.3 million contract with the Saints two months after the season.
If a deal isn’t worked out by Sunday with Allen, he could find himself in the same situation as Lewis and could parlay a strong season into a big free-agent deal next year.
However, Allen won’t even allow him to think about that.
“I wouldn’t even say that,” Allen said. “It’s a day-to-day thing as far as getting better individual.”
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said during the summer that the organization was targeting a number of players for contract extensions. The Steelers signed center Maurkice Pouncey, kicker Shaun Suisham and tackle Marcus Gilbert. Linebacker Jason Worilds and Allen remained unsigned past 2014.
The Steelers have waited until the last minute to sign a player before. Troy Polamalu signed an extension in 2011 at the airport on the Saturday before the start of the season as the team was about to depart for Baltimore.