While it was pretty much a given that it would be happening anyway, it is worth noting that prior to it happening, former Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix asked the organization for his release. This request was made presumably after the team signed fullback Derek Watt to a three-year, $9.75 million contract.
“Yesterday, we requested that the Pittsburgh Steelers release Pro Bowl fullback Roosevelt Nix of his contract obligations and allow him to continue his exceptional career elsewhere”, a statement provided by his agent to Josina Anderson reads. “The Steelers granted Roosevelt’s release, and we thank them greatly. Roosevelt is excited and looking forward to continuing his journey. He would like to thank the Steelers, his coaches, teammates, and fans for their support”.
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 18, 2020
His agent is Tamerat Berhe, former Steelers safety Nat Berhe’s brother, who is also his agent, in case you were looking for a random factoid.
Nix, originally signed by the Steelers as a linebacker to a futures contract in 2015, has spent the past five years as the team’s starting fullback, for so long as they have had one. The highest snap count that he had achieved in any individual season was 181, that coming in 2017, one of the two years in which he was able to play in all 16 games.
While Nix did manage to stay healthy throughout both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he had injuries in his first two years, including one that landed him on injured reserve for the final six weeks of the 2016 season. Last year, he was limited to just three games due to a knee injury that ultimately proved to be too much.
It is worth noting that, before the season ended, the day after Christmas, Nix was designated as a player to return from injured reserve, which would indicate that the Steelers believed he was at that point healthy enough to resume practicing.
In other words, he should be healthy enough to sign with another team. But because of the current situation around the globe, and players barred from traveling, signing a free agent contract could prove difficult, since it would require that a signing team trust a third-party neutral physician regarding his health.
In 2018, when he was a restricted free agent, the Steelers signed Nix to a four-year contract worth just a hair under $7 million in total. He ultimately would see only half of that deal, but still netted $4 million in pay between base salary and signing bonus. He was given a $1.75 million signing bonus, and had base salaries of $1 million and $1.25 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
In addition to being the Steelers’ starting fullback (he made the Pro Bowl in 2018), Nix was also a staple special teamer, logging over 1000 snaps there over his career. He played over 300 snaps in each of the 2018 and 2019 seasons before being limited to just 42 last year. Watt will be replacing Nix in this phase as much as he is at fullback.