Just one day after the New England Patriots acquired tight end Michael Roberts from the Detroit Lions, the deal fell through for unknown reasons and resulted in the former fourth-round draft pick reverting back to his former team. Upon that happening, the Lions decide ed to waive Roberts outright on Friday. One would think that such a trade reversal and subsequent quick waiving of Roberts would be a result of a failed physical. However, despite reports saying a failed physical took place, there is nothing on the league’s official transaction sheet from Friday that indicates such. So, with Roberts now on waivers, will the Pittsburgh Steelers look to claim him? We’ll soon see.
Last season, Roberts played in 8 games with the Lions and registered 9 catches for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns in 177 total snaps played. Roberts’ 2018 season, however, wound up being cut short by a shoulder injury that required surgery. According to Roberts, he’s in a great spot health wise.
“I’m up and running,” Roberts said of his health,” according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Just it’s more so about maintaining and building strength around everything that I had go wrong which, I feel perfectly fine.”
During his 2017 rookie season, Roberts, who measured in at the scouting combine at 6043, 270-pounds and ran the 40-yard-dash in Indianapolis in 4.86 seconds, played in 15 games and caught just 4 passes for 46 yards. He was fined and suspended for the final game of the 2017 regular season after he reportedly missed team meetings due to him oversleeping.
“I slept a little longer than I expected to,” Roberts said after his rookie season was over. “I had a good talk this morning with upstairs, so still trending up just looking to come back better. Can’t leave it – I left it sour, so you can definitely expect me to come back on a mission.”
According to our Steelers 2017 pre-draft visitor tracker, Roberts wasn’t brought to Pittsburgh for a visit that year. However, it was reported by Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst that Steelers tight end coach James Daniel was present for Roberts’ Toledo pro day and even met later with the tight end.
After his pro day drills ended, Roberts reportedly said “he had an in-depth sit-down with the Steelers,” according to John Kampf of The News-Herald. Additionally, Roberts said he had previous “frequent” talks with both the Steelers and Lions. Roberts also reportedly slightly bettered his 40-time at his pro day. The Steelers also reportedly talked to Roberts at the combine after previously talking to him some at the 2017 Senior Bowl.
In his final season at Toledo, Roberts caught 45 passes for 533 yards and 16 touchdowns and during his entire college career he caught 70 total passes for 832 yards and 22 touchdowns.
If Roberts is indeed fully healthy right now, we could potentially see the Steelers put in a waiver claim for him. After all, the Steelers recently put in a waiver claim for tight end Jordan Leggett when he was waived by the New York Jets several weeks ago. Unfortunately for the Steelers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were awarded Leggett off waivers as they had a higher claim priority level.
Should, however, Roberts ultimately clear waivers unclaimed, then perhaps he’s not as healthy as he claims to be. There could, however, be more to this recent trade reversal than we know that would potentially cause the Steelers to not have any interest in Roberts. After all, the Patriots reversing a trade certainly isn’t encouraging when it comes to Roberts and the same goes for the Lions quickly waiving the tight end after he had reverted.