Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger licking his chops, and getting ready to throw deep in 2016. AFC North defensive backs have been warned to don their track shoes for the dates where “Pittsburgh” appears on their 2016 calendars.
Such warnings are necessary in Pittsburgh, thanks to the news that wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey signed a 3 year contract with the Steelers.
The NFL Network is reporting that Darrius Heyward-Bey’s contract is for 3.8 million dollars. If those numbers are correct, Heyward-Bey would be averaging 1.26 million dollars per year. The website Over the Cap documents 303 contracts for NFL wide receivers, and Heyward-Bey’s put’s him at 88th, or in the top 29th percentile.
Heyward-Bey is All about Speed, Special Teams and Sweat
The resigning Darrius Heyward-Bey makes sense for the Steelers from a number of angles. First, it ensures that the Steelers will enter 2016 with the NFL’s deepest receiving corps, with All Pro Antonio Brown leading the way, budding star Martavis Bryant just behind him, continuing to improve Markus Wheaton, and up and comer Sammie Coates.
Given the flash the Sammie Coates gave in the playoff vs. Denver, Darrius Heyward-Bey might be the Steelers 5th wide receiver.
- But don’t count Darrius Heyward-Bey out of the compeition for the 4th or even 3rd wide reciver slot. Not by a long shot.
At a very minimum, Heyward-Bey will force both Coates and perhaps Wheaton to earn their playing time.
Beyond that, both Bey, Bryant and Wheaton all have break away speed and can spread the defense, making it easier for Ben Roethlisberger to get the ball to Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Jesse James (or whoever replaces Heath Miller.)
- Beyond that, Heyward-Bey is a true inspirational success story who is commands respect in the locker room.
Heyward-Bey was once the 7th pick of the NFL Draft, but never lived up to his billing. He left Oakland without a second contract offer, did a year with the Colts, and signed with the Steelers in 2014 for the veteran minimum. But Bey buckled his chin strap, picked up his lunch pail, and proceeded to make a name for himself on special teams.
- He’s also followed in the foot steps of another Pittsburgh wide receiver, Hines Ward.
Darruis Heyward-Bey is known for his downfield blocking ability, having helped spring DeAngelo Williams on many a long run this past season. It is that kind of dedication and reveling in the true grit that defines football, and players who’re willing embrace those roots to reinvent themselves win championships.
The Steelers were smart to keep Darrius Heyward-Bey in Pittsburgh.