As expected, the Pittsburgh Steelers followed up a very busy Monday with an equally busy Tuesday as they ready themselves for the start of the 2020 NFL league year on Wednesday.
Four Steelers players who were eligible to be restricted free agents are now under contract. Two of those players, cornerback Mike Hilton and tackle Matt Feiler, as expected, are being restricted tendered at second-round levels of 3,259,000, it was reported on Tuesday. The tendering of both players combined effectively used $5.298 million in 2020 salary cap space after top 51 roster displacement.
The two other players, tackle Zach Banner and long snapper Kameron Canaday, both signed new contracts with the Steelers. Canaday signed a two-year contract with the Steelers on Tuesday and we’re waiting to find out the exact details of that deal. Banner signed a one-year contract worth $1.75 million with the Steelers.
The Steelers surprisingly agreed to terms with one outside unrestricted free agent on Tuesday as former Los Angeles Chargers fullback Derek Watt, brother of outside linebacker T.J. Watt, will reportedly sign a three-year contract worth $9.75 million at the start of the new league year Wednesday evening. No details associated with that deal have emerged yet so we can only speculate what the 2020 salary cap implications will be at the time of this post.
After losing unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, the Steelers also lost two more unrestricted free agents to other teams on Tuesday. Inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich reportedly has agreed to terms with the Buffalo Bills on a two-year contract that can max out at $9 million. Additionally, center/guard B.J. Finney reportedly agreed to terms on Tuesday with the Seattle Seahawks on a two-year contract that totals out at $9.5 million.
The Steelers also announced on Tuesday that inside linebacker Ryan Shazier was being placed on the Reserve/Retired list so that he can continue to injury rehab and ensure his continued inclusion within the organization moving forward. Shazier had spent the last two seasons on the Steelers Reserve/PUP list.
We also learned Tuesday morning that the contracts of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and cornerback Steven Nelson are being restructured. The two combined, if done to the full amounts, would create $13.645 million in 2020 salary cap space.
What’s on tap for Wednesday for the Steelers? It’s hard to say at this point because most of the predictable moves have already taken place. We might learn about another contract restructure or two as center Maurkice Pouncey, guard David DeCastro and defensive end Stephon Tuitt remain candidates for that should the team deem they need more cap space.
It doesn’t sound like any more cuts are planned right now but fullback Roosevelt Nix reportedly is now at risk of having his contract terminated with Watt’s arrival in Pittsburgh. Will the Steelers re-sign any of the other players set to become free agents on Wednesday? Tight end Nick Vannett and safety Jordan Dangerfield could both be potential re-sign candidates if cheap enough.
What about soon-to-be unrestricted free agents cornerback Artie Burns and safety Sean Davis? Odds are very good both will be allowed to test free agency on Wednesday and ultimately sign elsewhere.
Will the Steelers surprise us again on Wednesday with another outside free agent signing or two? If they do, odds are very good that the deals would be of the cheap variety.
Stay tuned to the site on Wednesday as we’ll pass along any new news along very quickly like we always do.