Earlier this offseason I wrote about how I expected the contracts of wide receiver Eli Rogers and inside linebacker Ryan Shazier to both toll this offseason due to the time they spent on the team’s Reserve/PUP list in 2018. Several Pittsburgh member members, however, asserted that I was wrong despite having my original speculation confirmed by former NFL agent Joel Corry. On Tuesday, the Steelers confirmed that Shazier’s contract will indeed toll come the start of the new league year and it appears as though Rogers’ will as well.
For starters, Teresa Varley of steelers.com did not list Rogers, or Shazier, for that matter, on Tuesday as one of the Steelers soon-to-be unrestricted free agents and that’s a pretty good sign that the former undrafted free agent wide receiver out of Louisville will indeed have his contract toll. Additionally, Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network confirmed on Twitter Tuesday that Rogers contract will indeed toll.
Reiterating what we said on air yesterday, #Steelers WR Eli Rogers is still under contract. The CBA says that if a player is in the final year of his contract, and is still physically unable to perform his football services as of the sixth game, his contract will be tolled.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 12, 2019
As I pointed out in previous posts about Rogers and how his contract is expected to toll this offseason, even though he did ultimately play last season for the Steelers after a lengthy stay on the team’s Reserve/PUP list, the CBA stipulates that a player’s contract will toll if it’s his last year and if he is still physically unable to perform his football services as of the sixth regular season game. Obviously, Rogers’ recovery from the ACL he tore in the team’s 2017 playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars prevented him from being ready to play by the Steelers sixth game of the 2018 season.
As previously noted in a post, what happened to Rogers last season also happened to cornerback DeShawn Shead not too long ago when he was with the Seattle Seahawks. While Shead was finally removed from the Seahawks Reserve/PUP list late in the 2017 season, his contract was set to toll in 2018. The Seahawks, however, did Shead a favor and released him last March so that he could test free agency instead of making him return on a tolled contract. Shead ultimately landed with the Detroit Lions.
Will the Steelers do the same with Rogers as the Seahawks did with Shead? It’s kind of doubtful and especially with the Steelers trading away fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders over the weekend. Even if Rogers were to be released, it’s hard to imagine him being able to find team willing to pay him more than the minimum for his accrued years. In fact, Rogers’ best shot at making a 53-man roster in 2019 is probably with the Steelers.
In case you’re curious, Rogers contract is now expected to toll in 2019 at a minimum amount of $720,000, per Corry.