Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton had his 2016 season end several weeks ago when he was placed on the teams Reserve/Injured list with a shoulder injury that had hampered him dating back to the preseason. On Monday, Wheaton underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, and his expected recovery time is three months.
Wheaton, who caught 4 passes for 51 passes and a touchdown in the three games that played in this season, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent come the start of the 2017 league year in March. While the former third-round draft pick out of Oregon State has said publicly that he would like to return to re-sign with the Steelers, that’s very unlikely to happen.
The Steelers seem to be relatively stacked at the wide receiver position when it comes to 2017 and especially if Martavis Bryant is ultimately reinstated by the league after sitting out the entire 2016 season due to him being suspended for several violations of the leagues substance abuse policy.
As of right now, wide receivers Antonio Brown, Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Demarcus Ayers and Bryant are all under contract for next season. Additionally, wide receiver Cobi Hamilton is scheduled to be an exclusive rights free agent during the offseason and it’s all but guaranteed that he’ll return on a one-year minimum salary tender as he must accept it if it is offered to him.
Not to be forgotten are wide receivers Canaan Severin and Marcus Tucker. Severin, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, is currently on the team’s Reserve/Injured list. As for Tucker, who is currently on the Steelers practice squad, he will likely be signed to a futures contract after the season assuming he sticks around that long.
Wheaton is expected to sign elsewhere during the offseason and hopefully he winds up factoring into the compensatory draft pick formula for 2018.