The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the offseason, which means the team has to make many decision on the players it rolls into Training Camp with. Re-signing free agents is a vital aspect of the offseason and deciding on who to offer a contract to or not can be rewarding or devastating. All the listed free agents are unrestricted free agents unless noted otherwise.
RB Le’Veon Bell – This relationship is dead. Bell is as good as gone.
RB Stevan Ridley – The team should move on from Ridley, who has a fumbling issue and is in need of a third running back who can offer value on special teams.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey – I’m torn on DHB, but it may be time to move on. Offering little to nothing on offense really hurts his value, even though he has proven valuable on special teams.
WR Justin Hunter – A huge pass from me. Hunter never panned out an was only around because he was good in the locker room and has size. This experiment should be over with.
WR Eli Rogers – I was critical of Rogers returning to Pittsburgh, but in his short stint on the field showed some optimism in his play. I’d offer him a contract with no-low guarantees.
TE Jesse James – I was asked about who my “must keep” free agent would be out of the pool, and James is it. I explained in my reply:
This is going to sound weird, but Jesse James. With McDonald’s health always suspect and James’ ability to stay healthy, steady and consistent, it’s a HUGE plus. He has starting experience, no off field drama, trending up as a blocker & chemistry with arguably all QBs. https://t.co/E3k7KtG2Wt
— Chris Nicolaou (@Cnic__) January 1, 2019
[RFA] Xavier Grimble – I’ve been done with Grimble for two seasons but here we are. I have not changed my mind. He has some athletic ability, but the Steelers need a true blocking tight end to be their number three. Matt Spaeth-esque.
[ERFA] TE Jake McGee – McGee was on my 53-man roster prediction during training camp but tore his achilles in practice. I want McGee to stick around for at least one more year to see if he can stay healthy and see if he can stick around. His skill-set is worth exploring further.
OG Ramon Foster – I offer Foster a contract, but I don’t think it will be enough to get him to stick around. Per Mark Kaboly of the Athletic, Ramon Foster said he’ll need some serious cash to stick around.
What are the chances Ramon Foster will re-sign with the Steelers this offseason?
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticPGH) October 26, 2018
[RFA] OG BJ Finney – I would most definitely keep Finney around, especially with Foster’s comment. I don’t just offer Finney an RFA tender, but I extend him for the long term.
[ERFA] OT Josepth Cheek – I never saw much of Cheek to convince me he is worth sticking around, but I trust Tomlin to make the correct call on this one. He could be a decent camp body.
[ERFA] OT Matt Feiler – I most definitely keep Feiler around, as I think he is competing to be the near-future at the right tackle position. Feiler filled in most admirably for often injured Marcus Gilbert and was such a great surprise.
DE Tyson Alualu – Alualu has been a solid get for Colbert. His versatility is very valuable. I offer him a short term deal and he shouldn’t command much money.
DE Leterrius “LT” Walton – Sadly, LT Walton has never really panned out. In his opportunities he has either disappointed or was just average at best. If he would return for ‘camp body’ money, I’d be okay with that, but sometimes its best to move on and not linger with players.
DT Daniel McCullers – McCullers has been awful until this year, when he was up and down. His ups were impressive and his downs had the fan base wanting him cut ASAP. He is worth returning on a cheap deal for training camp.
LB Ryan Shazier – As I shed a man-tear writing this, Shazier just isn’t going to return as a player right now. I hope he is offered a position as a coach. The team loves him and he is very knowledgeable of the team’s culture, playbook and everything that comes with being a Pittsburgh Steeler.
LB L.J Fort – Fort should be offered a cheap deal to come into camp, but I hope the team puts a high priority on solidifying the inside linebacker position so Fort doesn’t step onto the field for meaningful snaps. He is a special teams asset, no doubt.
OLB Anthony Chickillo – It may be just me, but Chickillo is not good at football. Depth at the outside linebacker position is very scarce, but I’d rather bring in an outside free agent coupled with a draft pick than keep Chickillo. Also, I am a big Ola Adeniyi fan. I hope the Chickillo experiment ends soon as it is a waste of his and the team’s time.
[ERFA] Keith Kelsey – This is another signing where I wouldn’t mind if Kelsey was brought back or not. His stock hasn’t gained any steam since joining the team, but the team may want to keep the linebacker room stocked with depth for training camp.
CB Coty Sensabaugh – I hated the signing when it happened and I hated when the team kept him around this past year. Sensabaugh is another player who is in fact not good at football. Please move on from him.
[ERFA] CB Mike Hilton – A long term extension has been earned by Hilton, the ball is just in the Steelers court on offering it to him. I definitely would, as he is the only long term cornerback on the roster, and the only defensive back who makes splash plays. The Steelers started to sway away from Hilton, spelling a good chunk of his snaps to Cam Sutton, so we may not see anything long term offered to Hilton until after the 2019 season.
S Nat Berhe – For special teams purposes only, I offer Berhe a cheap deal and a chance to compete in camp.
[ERFA] Jordan Dangerfield – Will this experiment ever end? Doesn’t seem like it. The Dangerfield-Steelers relationship is one similar to a boyfriend and girlfriend breaking up and getting back together for years and years. Where is the production? He can compete in camp on a cheap deal, but hopefully there’s enough depth that his services aren’t necessary any longer.
[ERFA] Malik Golden – I really like Golden’s game. He had a strong camp until he landed on IR with a knee injury before he could secure a spot on the 53-man roster. I would offer Golden a shot to come back to camp and hopefully stay healthy while having a positive impact.
Punter Jordan Berry – I really would like the Steelers to improve on the position, but unless the Steelers draft his replacement, I expect Berry back in camp to compete once again. I would offer him a cheap deal to return, if he declines, no worries, I wouldn’t miss his inconsistencies.
[ERFA] Long Snapper Kameron Canaday – I would make sure Canaday is back. No complaints from me. Just for the love of god don’t draft another long snapper.
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