Player: Nat Berhe
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2018 Salary Cap Hit: $790,000
2018 Season Breakdown:
Yeah, remember him? I almost didn’t. Early in the offseason, and then soon after the 2018 NFL Draft, the Steelers excised three safeties from their 2017 53-man roster, replacing them with four new ones. Gone immediately were starter Mike Mitchell and depth Robert Golden. J.J. Wilcox was released after they drafted two more in Terrell Edmunds and Marcus Allen.
That was in addition to the signing of Morgan Burnett in free agency, who was supposed to be a starter. But they also signed Nat Berhe during that same signing period, after spending his career up to that point with the New York Giants.
While he was signed largely to take Golden’s role on special teams as a four-phase player, Berhe is somebody who also received some work in the past as a dime defender with the Giants, and even started a game or two as a result of injury.
Berhe was originally released, but was re-signed two days later after the team placed linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi on injured reserve, which was the plan. Berhe was the only safety with a movable contract that wouldn’t have to go through waivers, so he was the logical one to ‘risk’.
But he would only spend about a month on the 53-man roster before he suffered an injury himself that ultimately landed him on injured reserve. To tell you the truth, before I started writing this, I had forgotten that he was even on the 53-man roster during the regular season, and misremembered that he might have been on the injured reserve list since the start.
That should tell you what you need to know about his performance, which wasn’t much to speak of. He didn’t even play on special teams as you would expect, only serving on the kick coverage and return units. He played 32 defensive snaps in weeks three and four due to injury as the dime back in place of Burnett, struggling as he did, before getting injured.
Free Agency Outlook:
It’s fair to say that the Steelers will likely make no effort to re-sign Berhe. The future is with the draft picks, and Burnett is very likely to be released in addition. With Edmunds, Allen, Sean Davis, and Jordan Dangerfield, plus any addition made this offseason, there isn’t much of a place for Berhe, even though he was one of six safeties on the 53-man roster while he was there.