The Pittsburgh Steelers have now issued all of their free agent tenders for 2018 and wide receiver Eli Rogers did not receive one. Because of that, Rogers will now be allowed to test free agency starting Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. EST.
Going on the Market The BullsEye In a target.
— Eli Rogers (@__bELIeve17) March 13, 2018
Last season, Rogers, who signed originally with the Steelers in 2015 as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville, caught only 18 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown in the 14 games that he played in. That low production came on the heels of him catching 48 passes for 594 yards and 3 touchdowns during the 2016 regular season.
Late in the Steelers Divisional Round playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Rogers suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and that injury ultimately required surgery. He updated his rehab status just less than a month ago and indicated at the time that he hopes to be ready by the start of NFL training camps. He also said at that same time that he hoped to be back with the Steelers in 2018.
“I would love to be back here,” Rogers said. “It’s a great, great city, great fans, the best fans in the league, like, really. I believe that, I’m a firm believer. And we have a great offense, great players and great guys on the team. So you know, I’d love to come back here, but it’s solely based on the coaches and however that process goes.”
With Rogers still a good ways away from being fully recovered from his knee injury, it’s hard to imagine any team wanting to sign him until he can pass a physical. That figures to be a few months from now so there’s still an outside chance the Steelers re-sign him later in the summer and at a much lower price than what a right of first refusal restricted tender would have cost the team.
Regardless of whatever ultimately happens with Rogers, the Steelers are still likely to address the wide receiver position at some point during the 2018 NFL Draft due to Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant essentially being the only wide receivers currently under contract you can consider locks to make the 53-man roster this upcoming season.
As expected, cornerback Greg Ducre and running back Fitzgerald Toussaint also failed to receive a restricted tenders from the Steelers and like Rogers, they will both become free agents come Wednesday evening. The Stellers did, however, restricted tender punter Jordan Berry, kicker Chris Bowsell and outside linebacker Anthony Chicklio prior to the deadline to do so in addition to re-signing fullback Roosevelt Nix to a multi-year contract and five exclusive rights free agents to one-year tenders.