The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Daniel McCullers to a two year contract. While the move does not come at a complete surprise, it is still a fair to ask “Why?”
Last year when doing our free agent focus profile on Daniel McCullers, the only case for resigning McCullers that could have been made was a theoretical one. Namely, that new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar had seen something on film that motivated him to convince Keith Butler, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert to give McCullers “One more chance.”
So Daniel McCullers was back in the Black and Gold on a veteran minimum salary. That move looked to be a mistake as McCullers was completely blown off the line of scrimmage on Kareem Hunt’s 9 yard run on the Chief’s final drive in their week 2 win over the Steelers.
However, McCuller’s snap count remained fairly consistent through the rest of the year, topping out at 18 snaps in the Steelers win over the Jaguars. And it should be noted that the Steelers shut down the Jaguar’s rushing attack in the 2nd half, which was a key to their comeback win.
- Now that contract details are clear, the Steelers decision to resign Daniel McCullers are perhaps a little easier to understand.
It is a two year, 2.75 million dollar deal, but Daniel McCuller’s signing bonus is only $250,000.
Daniel McCullers (Steelers) $2.75M; $250K signing bonus, salaries $1M, $1.5M
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 15, 2019
While that gives Daniel McCullers a bit of a raise, he still will have to win a job in training camp. The Steelers are set with Cameron Heyward, Javon Hargrave and Stephon Tuitt as their starters with Tyson Alualu severing ably as “The next man up.”
And given that the Steelers are in their base defense less and less frequently, the value that Daniel McCullers brings from his spot on the bottom of the depth chart is proportionally less than a defensive back in a similar position.
As staff writer Tony Defeo concluded in this year’s free agent focus profile of the Shady Tree, “It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the Steelers kept Daniel McCullers around for at least one more season.”
Once again the Defeo man is right. But if the Steelers get the chance to pick a defensive lineman with more “upside” in the 2019 NFL Draft let’s hope they take it.