The Steelers most aggressive forays into free agency since 1993 continued as Pittsburgh signed wide receiver Donte Moncrief to a two year deal. The Steelers were expected to bolster their wide receiving corps following the trade of Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders, however many expected them to target the position early in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Steelers had sown interest in Donte Moncrief during the 2014 NFL Draft but did not have a 3rd round pick having traded it away a year earlier to get Shamarko Thomas. Clearly that is one transaction which Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert would like have back.
- Donte Moncrief in fact caught his first touchdown against the Steelers in the 2014 shoot out with the Colts.
As Jim Wexell details, Moncief’s other efforts against the Steelers have been far more pedestrian, but that was also the only time he had the benefit of being on the receiving end of Andrew Luck’s passes. While the Steelers clearly would like for James Washington to start opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief will provide the “sophomore” wide out.
Rogers Signs for 2 Years, McCullers Back Too?
The Steelers took another step to bolstering depth at wide receiver when they signed Eli Rogers to a two year deal. Like Ryan Shazier, Eli Roger’s contract had tolled, meaning he did not acquire enough seniority to reach free agency this year, but the Steelers move will keep Rogers with the team through 2020.
- Free agency news in Pittsburgh was not all good, however.
Reserve linebacker L.J. Fort, who had an under the radar performance during 2018, signed a 3 year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. L.J. Fort had been on the Steelers roster since 2015, working almost excursively on special teams.
Injuries to Vince Williams gave L.J. Fort’s first prolonged playing experience, and L.J. Fort played well and by the end of the season he appeared to have surpassed Jon Bostic on the depth chart. The Steelers are expected to target inside linebacker early and perhaps often in the 2019 NFL Draft, so L.J. Fort was not expected to start.
However, L.J. Fort could have been a quality player at a position that is sorely lacking both depth and talent.
The Eagles signed seven-year veteran LB L.J. Fort, who has played for the Browns, Bengals, Seahawks and Steelers, mainly as a backup and special teamer.
Fort got a $875,000 signing bonus and base salaries of $1.025 million in 2019 and $1.5 million in 2020 and 2021.
— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) March 14, 2019
While the Eagles are not exactly giving L.J. Fort starter money, it would appear to be above what the Steelers were willing to pay.
Although there does not seem to be official confirmation yet, ESPN is reporting that the Steelers have resigned Daniel McCullers two a two year deal.