Player: Stevan Ridley
Position: Running Back
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2017 Salary Cap Hit: $72,353
2017 Season Breakdown:
It goes without saying that Stevan Ridley was not actually in the plans for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017. In reality, he wasn’t in anybody’s plans. He went unsigned all offseason until in late July, and did not make a team. He spent just four days on an active roster in early October, and had been on the street (metaphorically) until Pittsburgh signed him in late December.
But when he was brought in, he did make an impact. Their backup running back injured his knee and the team was not comfortable with their other options heading into the postseason, so they hit the streets and came up with Ridley.
He only played in the final two games of the regular season, but he looked quick and explosive at times in his efforts. He only gained 28 yards on nine carries in his first game against a strong Texans front, but he played very well in the regular season finale.
Behind an offensive line that was without Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro, including Matt Feiler making his first start and eventually Chris Hubbard playing at center, Ridley racked up 80 yards on the ground on 17 carries and rushed for a touchdown as well, rattling off a few double-digit-yard runs.
Unsurprisingly, he did not get any carries in the postseason, with Le’Veon Bell obviously being the workhorse back. That the team chose to rest starters in the regular season finale was the only reason he got the opportunity to play a decent amount. But it may have been enough to get the Steelers to want to see more.
Free Agency Outlook:
Ridley is the final player on the list who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins. He is also the player who has spent the least amount of time with the Steelers while having also played in a game.
At the moment, the Steelers are at least hypothetically not in great shape at running back. With Bell scheduled for free agency and James Conner recovering from an MCL tear, about all they have to work with right now is Fitzgerald Toussaint, who himself is going to be a restricted free agent.
In other words, it would make a lot of sense if the Steelers express interest in bringing Ridley back for another year, given that he performed pretty well in his opportunities late in the year. He is also a veteran presence who seemed to ingratiate himself well with the rest of the team.
Generally speaking, he is obviously not going to have a big market, as should go without saying. He was available for the Steelers to sign off the street in late December, after all. He was not even signed in 2017 by any team until late July, and then went a month from early September to early October without a job, which lasted four days.
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