2018 certainly wasn’t a great season for Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Xavier Grimble as the former undrafted free agent out of USC will mostly remembered last year for fumbling at the goal-line in the team’s road loss to the Denver Broncos. That said, the Steelers still decided that Grimble played well enough to warrant them giving him a restricted free agent tender.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Steelers tendered Grimble at the lowest level and thus they will have the right-of-first-refusal should the tight end wind up signing an offer sheet with another team during free agency. The amount of that low one-year restricted tender that Grimble received should be $2.025 million, according to former NFL agent Joel Corry, now that the 2019 salary cap has been set at $188.2 million.
Grimble, who first signed with the Steelers in 2015 as a member of their practice squad, has since played in 44 regular season games for Pittsburgh. He has registered 22 total receptions for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns in the last three seasons and also played quite a bit on special teams during that span.
The Steelers decision to restricted tender Grimble is a bit of a surprise and it could be a sign that the team thinks there’s a good chance that fellow tight end Jesse James will sign elsewhere this offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
With Grimble receiving a restricted tender, he’ll now have several weeks in which he can field offers from other teams. If, however, Grimble ultimately signs an offer sheet with another team in the coming weeks, the Steelers will have the right to match it. Should they refuse to match an offer sheet signed by Grimble, the Steelers would lose him without any form of compensation being as the tight end entered the NFL originally as an undrafted free agent.
There’s still no word yet on if the Steelers tendered their other soon-to-be restricted free agent, offensive lineman B.J. Finney, but there’s a good chance that news will break soon as it’s expected to happen.