Even though his 2016 season is now over, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton is saying all the right thigs when it comes to his possible future with the team.
“I want to stay here. That would be my first choice,” Wheaton said Monday, according to Chris Bradford of The Beaver County Times. “Obviously, it’s business. We’ll see how it goes.”
Markus Wheaton on his future: “I want to stay here. That would be my first choice. Obviously, it’s business. We’ll see how it goes.”
— Chris Bradford (@PghBradford) November 28, 2016
Wheaton, who was placed on the Steelers Reserve/Injured list a few weeks ago, is currently scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March now that his rookie contract is set to expire. The former third-round draft pick out of Oregon State only managed to register 4 catches for 51 yards and a touchdown before his season came to an end because of a shoulder injury.
In his four season with the Steelers, Wheaton caught 107 passes for 1,508 yards and 8 touchdowns. However, 97 of those catches came over the course of two seasons. Nearly one full year ago, Wheaton had his best game of his career that included him catching 9 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers Week 12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
While Wheaton states that he would like to stay in Pittsburgh, the chances of that ultimately happening our very slim. For starters, the Steelers look like their ready to move forward with Antonio Brown, Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates and Darrius Heyward-Bey as their top-four wide receivers next season. On top of that, there’s a chance currently suspended wide receiver Martavis Bryant will return in 2017 as well. If that’s not enough, young wide receivers Cobi Hamilton, Canaan Severin and Demarcus Ayers appear set to do battle for spots on the roster next year during training camp.
Should Wheaton ultimately re-sign with the Steelers, one would think he would have to accept a very minimal offer. Even though his 2016 season was wiped out by an injury, Wheaton is still likely to receive some interest from other teams during free agency because of his past performances during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.