Pittsburgh Steelers: What to expect with each free agent

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18: A Pittsburgh Steelers fan holds up a sign regarding former Steeler Le'Veon Bell during the first half of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field on November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18: A Pittsburgh Steelers fan holds up a sign regarding former Steeler Le'Veon Bell during the first half of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field on November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a number of free agents they need to make decisions on, and should find themselves resigning plenty of their own players.

The Steelers head into the offseason with many questions and the hope is that changes will be made. There are also some players that the Steelers will want to keep. Here is a look at the Steelers free agents.

Tyson Alualu, DE – Alualu is an unrestricted free agent and the Steelers may want to make a run at him. He is on the wrong side of 30 but has played effectively when called upon.

Zach Banner, OT – Banner is an exclusive rights free agent and that means he can be kept for the minimum. He stayed on the roster for the whole season and I would imagine that the Steelers will retain him. His development will determine if he makes the roster in 2019.

Jordan Berry, P – Berry is an unrestricted free agent and the Steelers will likely be able to retain him for close to the minimum. The Steelers would be smart to bring him back and also give him some competition in camp.

Kameron Canaday, LS – Canaday has been the long snapper for the past two years and has done a solid job. I would imagine he will be resigned and will be the long snapper in 2019.

Anthony Chickillo, OLB – Chickillo will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. He has played well as a reserve linebacker and has been a solid special teamer. The hope is that they can come together on a multiyear deal.

Jordan Dangerfield, S – Dangerfield was an exclusive rights free agent this year and he should be this year too. He should be kept because of the role he plays being able to play special teams and reserve safety.

Matt Feiler, RT – Feiler stepped in admirably for Marcus Gilbert and may have earned himself the right tackle job. I could see a scenario where Gilbert is cut and Feiler is signed for light right tackle money.

BJ Finney, C/G – BJ Finney is capable of playing all three interior positions on the offensive line and so that should get him a contract extension. He is currently a restricted free agent but that could turn into a multiyear deal if the Steelers are unable to come to terms with Ramon Foster. BJ Finney is likely the next in line to take the left guard job.

LJ Fort, ILB – LJ Fort is a free agent and the hope is that he is able to be retained but willing to stay a backup. With the playing time he got, somebody might offer him starter money.

Ramon Foster, LG – Foster has been consistent in his time with the Steelers. He has played above what they pay him and has been a very good left guard. My feeling is that he is looking for the most money this time and some other team will pay him good money.

Xavier Grimble, TE – Grimble has been with the team a few years and has shown some things. He is a restricted free agent but I don’t think he will be tendered. I could see him back on a one-year deal for the minimum. Not being that valuable on special teams hurts him.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR – Heyward-Bey is a free agent and probably will only come back for the veteran minimum. If he does come back, he will have to prove that he is still a valuable gunner on the punt team.

Mike Hilton, CB – Hilton is a restricted free agent this year and I hope he is an original round tender. When he is on, he is a good slot corner and he is capable of covering kicks and punts on special teams.

Jesse James, TE – James has been a decent receiving tight end for the Steelers but isn’t worth the money he could get on the open market. He may want to start with another team. The reason I don’t think he is worth it is that he will be behind Vance McDonald and he doesn’t block that well and doesn’t play special teams.

Matt McCrane, K – McCrane shouldn’t be retained because I would like to see Boswell come back to camp and have a strong competitor for the kicker job. McCrane doesn’t bring much competition but did the job in his short stint with the Steelers.

Dan McCullers, NT – McCullers improved this year and showed he deserves to be kept. I would like to see McCullers come back on a two-year deal for close to the minimum. If somebody is willing to pay more, then he is replaceable in the draft.

Stevan Ridley, RB – Ridley will be a free agent and I think it would be best if they let him walk. That fumble against the Saints hurt and now he can’t be trusted to run the football. He also doesn’t play special teams.

Coty Sensabaugh, CB – Sensabaugh will be a free agent, but it would be nice to have him under contract going into the draft. He might have to be counted on the be a starting corner as Artie Burns has not been able to do the job. The hope is that the Steelers can draft a good cornerback early.

Leterrious Walton, DE – Walton has been a welcome addition as a sixth-round pick. He didn’t play much last year, but it would be nice to see him back and maybe he will have to be the top backup at defensive end. He has been serviceable in the past.

Le’Veon Bell, RB – The story has already been written about how Bell refuses to play for less than a lot of guaranteed money. The Steelers can put the transition tag on him and be able to match other team’s bids. My opinion is they should let him walk and get a compensatory pick for the 2020 draft. He has been a distraction and he would likely not show up if he was given the transition tag. Clearly, he wants to get paid more than what the Steelers are willing to offer.

Nat Berhe, S – Nat Berhe’s main job would be the upback on the punt unit. I think if he wants to come back and compete for that job for the veteran minimum than the Steelers should do it. He did spend a lot of the year on injured reserve and he is replaceable as a safety.

Justin Hunter, WR – Hunter ended the year on IR and that should be his last snap with the Steelers. The Steelers have proven able to draft wide receivers and Hunter has not performed for them. They have kept bringing him back, but I think the upside is gone at this point.

dark. Next. 5 free agent targets for the Steelers

Jake McGee, TE– McGee started the year on IR with a torn achilles. If he has healed himself, he deserves a chance to compete for the roster this year. He may not be a receiving upgrade of Grimble, but he will be a blocking upgrade.