The Pittsburgh Steelers have tendered LB Robert Spillane to a one-year contract, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Brooke Pryor sent out moments ago. Spillane was set to be an exclusive rights free agent, essentially ensuring his return to the Steelers. According to her tweet, Spillane intends to sign the tender.
The deal should be worth one-year, $850,000. If so, it will use up $190,000 in cap space.
After playing almost exclusively on special teams in 2019, Spillane saw a large role on the Steelers’ defense in 2020 following Devin Bush’s torn ACL. Spillane himself dealt with a knee injury that cost him four games but went on to start seven contests, racking up 45 total tackles (4 TFL) and an pick-six of Lamar Jackson. He has best known for laying a punishing hit on Derrick Henry at the goal line in the Steelers’ 27-24 win over the Tennessee Titans.
Spillane proved to hold his own in coverage but he was a bit inconsistent attacking the run. It’s unclear what his role will be in 2021. if Vince Williams becomes a cap casualty, Spillane will be next man up starting next to Bush for 2021, unless the team aggressively fills that void in the draft. If Williams stays, Spillane could return as a depth player and core special teamer.
He is the third ERFA to sign, joining C/G J.C. Hassenauer and LB Marcus Allen.