Player: Fitzgerald Toussaint
Position: Running Back
Free Agent Status: Restricted
2017 Salary Cap Hit: $243,529
2017 Season Breakdown:
I don’t know about you, but it certainly feels as though running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has been with the Pittsburgh Steelers for an awfully long time. I mean, he started in the postseason for the team in 2015.
Originally acquired earlier that season, Toussaint was their second outside option as their initial running back on the practice squad. He spent the majority of that season there, but was called up in the second half of the season, and then due to Le’Veon Bell’s knee injury, followed by DeAngelo Williams’ injury, ended up starting playoff games.
He spent all of 2016 on the 53-man roster despite playing minimally on offense, even while Williams was injured, but he was regularly featured as one of their two kick returners—much to the chagrin of many who recall that endeavor.
But things changed this past year. Thought they moved on from Williams, they drafted James Conner, and prior to that they signed Knile Davis in free agency, who had better return ability, at least on paper. If Davis were not making the roster, Toussaint wasn’t either.
Neither did, the job initially going to Terrell Watson, but after a while, the two flipped positions. Watson went back to the practice squad, and now he signed an offseason contract with the Giants. Yet when Conner went down, the Steelers brought in Stevan Ridley to serve as Bell’s backup.
Over the course of the final three games, of the season, he did get some work, carrying the ball a total of six times for 25 yards. He also caught two passes for nine more yards. He has yet to score a touchdown in the regular season, though he did have one in the 2015 postseason.
Free Agency Outlook:
Toussaint is just one of the many Steelers players who will be a restricted free agent. They have already managed to work out contracts with two of them, those being punter Jordan Perry, signed to a one-year agreement, and fullback Roosevelt Nix, who got himself a four-year contract.
Toussaint is likely not going to be given the restricted free agent tender this season. He simply does not represent enough value behind Bell, Conner, and Ridley. But that does not mean that the team will discard him.
While they might not tender him, it is reasonable to believe that they have interest in retaining him. He should be able to be re-signed to a one-year veteran-minimum qualifying contract, which is a route that they have taken in the past for similarly positioned restricted free agents who may not have been worth the tag.
Last year, the Steelers had two players who were restricted free agents, giving the tag to both of them. One, Chris Hubbard, certainly proved to be worth it. The other, Ross Cockrell, they traded. It is worth keeping in mind that the value of the tender is not guaranteed until they actually make the roster.
Steelers 2018 Free Agents Analysis: Stevan Ridley
Steelers 2018 Free Agents Analysis: Sean Spence
Steelers 2018 Free Agents Analysis: Justin Hunter
Steelers 2018 Free Agents Analysis: Arthur Moats
Steelers 2018 Free Agents Analysis: Chris Hubbard
Steelers 2018 Free Agents Analysis: Le’Veon Bell