Things are happening fast on the South Side as the Pittsburgh Steelers have made a flurry of moves in anticipation of the start of free agency.
- First, the Steelers have resigned Ramon Foster to a two year contract.
This news does not come as a surprise, given Art Rooney II’s comments about keeping the offensive line together. However, the Steelers previous decision to put a 2nd round tender on B.J. Finney opened the door to speculation that Ramon Foster might be allowed to seek a home outside of Pittsburgh.
- That will not be happening in 2019.
In a move that amounted to a minor surprise, the Steelers also extended the contract of center Maurkice Pouency, who had one year remaining on his current contract. The move is reported to be a 3 year extension, and will keep him in Pittsburgh through the 2021 season.
- This move perhaps signals an imminent resigning of Ben Roethlisberger.
The two players have vocally stated their desire to continue playing together, with one hinting he’ll retire when the other does. The Steelers usually resign players who have a year remaining on their contracts to extensions during the summer. Doing so now could be part of a move to facilitate Ben Roethlisberger’s extension, or the move could be happening now for salary cap reasons.
Finney and Grimble Get Restricted Free Agent Tenders
As mentioned above, the Steelers issued a 2nd round tender to B.J. Finney who is a restricted free agent. Finney is free to negotiate with other teams, but the tender gives the Steelers the right to match any offer or otherwise will cost the other team a 2nd round pick.
- A 2nd round tender will pay B.J. Finney over 2 million dollars, although the Steelers could work out a long-term deal with Finney.
- The Steelers also offered an original round tender to Xavier Grimble.
Because Xavier Grimble entered the league as an undrafted rookie free agent, the Steelers would not get any thing should another team sign him, but it does give the Steelers the right to match his offer. In all likelihood, the no team will make an attempt to sign Grimble. This move all but confirms speculation that the Steelers will allow Jesse James to test the free agent market.
Oops! Now Hilton and Feiler Get ERFA Tenders
Finally, the Steelers also offered exclusive rights free agent tenders to Matt Feiler and Mike Hilton effectively keeping the duo in Pittsburgh for the 2019 season.
As Exclusive Rights Free Agents either player can sign with another team, but the Steelers needed to make them qualifying offers to retain their rights. No word or mention has yet been made of tight end Jack McGee, tackle Joseph Cheek, linebacker Keith Kelsey and safety Malik Golden who are also Exclusive rights free agents.
In our profile of the Steelers 2019 Exclusive Rights Free Agent class, Steel Curtain Rising erroneously asserted that the Steelers had tendered all of their ERFAs. That was wrong. As of now, only Hilton and Feiler have tenders.