In two expected moves, the Pittsburgh Steelers tendered exclusive rights free agents OT Matt Feiler and CB Mike Hilton, according to the PPG’s Ed Bouchette.
From his report.
“They tendered minimum-wage one-year contracts to cornerback Mike Hilton and tackle/guard Matt Feiler, who were exclusive-rights free agents unable to look elsewhere once tendered.”
Feiler was inserted into the starting lineup for much of 2018, replacing Marcus Gilbert and right tackle. Largely, he played well and should be assured of a roster spot heading into training camp. Assuming Gilbert stays, Feiler will compete with Chukwuma Okorafor to be the backup tackle again. He’s also shown versatility, seeing work at guard and in practice, even a handful of reps at center.
Hilton started last year strong before fading at the end, losing out on some playing time to Cam Sutton. He finished the year with 57 tackles, one interception, and one sack.
Both players will make $645,000 in 2019.
It was the obvious choice to bring both players back given their exclusive rights nature. The Steelers also tendered both their restricted free agents, Xavier Grimble with the right of first refusal and B.J. Finney at the second round level.
Though Bouchette notes punter Jordan Berry failed to be tendered, he is set to be an unrestricted free agent. That means the team can’t tender him. It’s unclear if the Steelers plan to re-sign him before free agency starts or go in a different direction at punter.
Bouchette also doesn’t note four other ERFA: TE Jake McGee, S Malik Golden, LB Keith Kelsey, and OT Joseph Cheek. It doesn’t appear those four were given a tender. All four players ended up on injured reserve during the preseason.