Player: Jordan Dangerfield
Free Agent Status: Exclusive Rights (Re-Signed)
2018 Salary Cap Hit: $645,000
2018 Season Breakdown:
Sometimes it seems as though Jordan Dangerfield has been here as long as Mike Tomlin has. As it turns out, he has actually only been here for as long as Stephon Tuitt has. After having originally been signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buffalo Bills, Dangerfield has spent all or parts of every season since 2014 and on with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For the first two years, that only amounted to time on the practice squad, but he was on the 53-man roster for the 2016 season. When Robert Golden, a stop-gap starter at strong safety, was injured for two games that year, Dangerfield got the opportunity to start for two games, and he filled in well.
He likely would have made the roster in 2017 as well had he not suffered an injury at the end of the preseason. The Steelers traded for J.J. Wilcox after that while dealing with additional injuries at safety, but Dangerfield eventually found his way back to the practice squad.
He was back on the 53-man roster in 2018, however, and though he didn’t play a big role, he did have one. While he filled in some as a spot player when in-game injuries occurred, he was given a package as the season progressed as a third safety in the 3-4 defense, replacing a cornerback, in order to counter heavy run sets.
The heavy hitter continued to prove that he is capable of contributing on special teams as well. While he is able to play on defense, a fringe player such as himself must often be above average in that third phase of the game in order to keep himself around, and he has done that.
Now the task at hand is whether or not he can make the 53-man roster for two straight years. He has been in the league since 2013, but has only two accrued seasons out of six since he has been out of college.
Free Agency Outlook:
The Steelers have already re-signed Dangerfield as an exclusive rights free agent, though they have never officially announced that on their website. Tackle Zach Banner and long snapper Kameron Canaday have also been re-signed.
It seems likely that the team will release Morgan Burnett, who is due to make a base salary of $5 million in 2019 and would only have the opportunity to be a backup. Nat Berhe, who spent most of the year on injured reserve, likely won’t be brought back.
With only 2018 fifth-round pick Marcus Allen behind starters Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds, Dangerfield has a good shot of being on the team again in 2019, but that will depend on how the Steelers address the safety position in the offseason. They added four new safeties in 2018.