Breaking down the Pittsburgh Steelers free agency situation

1 of 3

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a number of players they’ll need to situate during free agency.

With the end of the Steelers season upon us, it is time to look at the Steelers free agents and who should be kept and who should be allowed to get away. It important to note that some have already been resigned like exclusive-rights free agent Mike Hilton.


The Steelers three quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones and Josh Dobbs are all under contract next season and should be the three heading into the 2018 season.

Running Backs

Le’Veon Bell is probably the Steelers biggest free agent and is probably also the most likely to get the franchise tag. The Steelers reportedly offered more money in 2018 than the projected tag number at around $14 million.

Bell had another stellar season and ended it by saying that he would hold out or retire if a deal does not get done. Now Bell is singing a different tune, saying the Steelers and him are close to a deal and that a deal has been offered. He will hope the two sides can come to an agreement on a long-term deal, but if that doesn’t happen, look for Bell to get the franchise tag and to hold out of training camp and the preseason again.

Fitzgerald Toussant is a restricted free agent and it would be wise for the Steelers to bring him back on a right of first refusal tender. The Steelers can afford to lose Toussant, but it would be nice to have him back in camp again, competing for a roster spot as a third running back and special teamer.

Steven Ridley is an unrestricted free agent and it would be nice to see him back in camp. The Steelers got him as a street free agent; so, it should be relatively easy to retain him. I think at a minimum contract, he can compete to be the Steelers number two running back with James Conner. On the other hand, you don’t want to guarantee too much because the Steelers may want another special teamer to go along with James Conner in the Steelers backfield.


Roosevelt Nix was a late addition to the Pro Bowl roster as a fullback. The Steelers ought to try to retain him with a mid-round tender. In my opinion, they should use a fourth-round tender on him. Nix is a good special teamer and a decent fullback in front of Le’Veon Bell. They should at minimum get a good special teamer for him if they lose him. I would also like to see him signed to a multi-year deal later in the offseason.

Wide Receiver

Eli Rogers is a restricted free agent but is only worth a right of first refusal tender. He reportedly tore his ACL in the playoff game against the Jaguars and that means he will not be ready for the start of the regular season. It would be nice to have him under contract for another season as he has earned the role of punt returner and is a decent slot receiver. On the other hand, the Steelers may not want to commit too much to a player with a torn ACL.

Justin Hunter is an unrestricted free agent, but is worth another look at the minimum. He is someone who knows the playbook and is a big target in the red zone. I wouldn’t give him any guaranteed money, but the Steelers need receiver bodies with Eli Rogers a free agent and injured.

Tight End

The Steelers Xavier Grimble was a free agent, but was signed to a one-year deal. He will compete in camp for a spot on the team if the Steelers choose to draft a tight end.

Offensive Line

B.J. Finney is an exclusive rights free agent. The Steelers will be able to retain him easily but may want to extend him as he looks like the heir apparent to Ramon Foster at left guard. The Steelers may try a long-term deal and if that can’t get done then he will at least be their top backup on the interior.

Matt Feiler is an exclusive-rights free agent and should be brought back. He is a depth player that can play both tackle and guard.

Chris Hubbard is a free agent and you have to think he has played himself into a starting role with a team. I think he is worth lower end, starting right tackle money. The good news is that he could figure into the compensatory formula for the Steelers.