Entering the 2020 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are only expected to retain just their two starting safeties out of those who played more than a handful of snaps at the position in 2019. Both Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds were 16-game starters (though not necessarily all for Pittsburgh), but the only other safety who played a somewhat significant amount of snaps was Kameron Kelly, who was released midseason after getting arrested.
The remaining safeties of note are Marcus Allen and Jordan Dangerfield. Allen remains under contract, though not under his rookie deal since he was on the practice squad for most of last season. Dangerfield, on the other hand, is a restricted free agent.
While it’s a foregone conclusion that the Steelers are not going to give him a restricted free agent tender, which would cost them over $2 million for somebody that they primarily view as a special teams player, he is nevertheless hoping to remain with the franchise with whom he has been since 2014.
That is when Dangerfield first signed with the Steelers as a futures player, and while he has come and gone a few times since then—he has a transaction history of the team 18 items long, from re-signing to being waived or cut or signed or dropped to and from the practice squad—he has been a more or less constant presence since then.
And he has hardly known anything else since coming into the NFL. He’s come to appreciate being in Pittsburgh, even if his role is as a special teamer, and may wonder if he could have a bigger opportunity if he were elsewhere.
“All I have to do is look back whenever I need a little motivation”, he said. “I just look back on my journey. It can be a slow morning, meetings are dragging. I just think in my head you are lucky to be here. I was without football for a few months. I think about that and it motivates me every day”.
Provided the unlikely event of the Steelers placing a restricted free agent tender on him does not come to pass, Dangerfield will become an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year in 49 hours.
But he is hoping that doesn’t last very long, and that he doesn’t have to do any packing. “I love Pittsburgh”, he said. “I feel like Pittsburgh is home”, and “God willing it can work out” that he will stay with the Steelers.