Steelers Rumors

Ben Roethlisberger In Concussion Protocol

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is in the concussion protocol after absorbing a hit during Thursday’s practice, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.

Roethlisberger reportedly ran into right tackle Marcus Gilbert and linebacker Keion Adams while rolling to the right, and was subsequently escorted off the field by trainers. The veteran quarterback, whom Fowler notes last suffered a concussion during the 2015 campaign, hadn’t been scheduled to play in Pittsburgh’s Thursday tilt against Green Bay, but Roethlisberger’s availability for the remainder of the preseason is now in question.

Based on a typical concussion timeline, the 36-year-old Roethlisberger will return in time for Week 1 of the regular season. If complications arise, however, the Steelers would turn to backup Landry Jones, with recent draft picks Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs in reserve.

As Fowler adds, Roethlisberger has previously stated that “long-term brain health” would play a role in the length of his NFL career. Roethlisbeger reportedly mulled retirement after the 2016 season, but told teammates in January he’d like to play at least three more years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/13/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Signed: DT Simeyon Robinson

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans 

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: C Oni Omoile
  • Waived/Injured: OL Parker Collins

Washington Redskins

  • Signed: WR Dan Williams III

Steelers Sign OT Zach Banner

The Steelers have signed free agent offensive tackle Zach Banner, the club announced today. In a corresponding roster move, Pittsburgh has waived/injured offensive lineman Kyle Meadows.

Banner, an absolutely mammoth human being at 6’9″, 360 pounds, was selected by the Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. However, the USC product didn’t even make it through final cutdowns in Indianapolis, and became the highest rookie draft choice to be waived last year.

Claimed off waivers by the Browns, Banner played just 27 offensive snaps in eight games for Indianapolis before going on waivers again. He was acquired by the Panthers in March, but spent only two months on Carolina’s roster before being cut in May.

At present, the Steelers don’t appear to have any room for another offensive tackle on its 53-man roster. Alejandro Villanueva and Marcus Gilbert are locked in as Pittsburgh’s starters, while Matt Feiler and third-round rookie Chukwuma Okorafor will serve as backups. Banner’s chances with the Steelers, then, likely hinge on whether the club suffers any injuries over the next few weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bud Dupree In Concussion Protocol

  • Bud Dupree suffered a setback this weekend and is in concussion protocol, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The Steelers will be without their starting right outside linebacker for a bit, per Fowler, after seeing the fourth-year player start camp strong. Anthony Chickillo and Keion Adams reside as the top backups, per Pittsburgh’s first 2018 depth chart, and will see more time while Dupree is sidelined. Adams was a 2017 seventh-round pick who did not play last season.

Steelers, Chris Boswell Talking Extension

The Steelers applied a second-round RFA tender to Chris Boswell in March but don’t appear to want their kicker back under that arrangement this season.

Boswell said negotiations between his camp and the Steelers began this week, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The fourth-year kicker’s only played for the Steelers, and he stands to be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

A report last week tabbed Boswell as an extension priority, and the Steelers are following through in hopes of keeping their kicker in the fold long-term. Boswell’s coming off a Pro Bowl season, having made 35 of 38 field goal attempts (including four game-winning tries). He saw all four of his 50-plus-yard attempts sail through the uprights as well.

It will probably take a $4MM-per-year deal (or close to it) for Pittsburgh to lock up the 27-year-old Boswell. Five kickers earn $4MM annually, and the most recent member of that club — the Panthers’ Graham Gano — signed a deal in March that came in above Justin Tucker‘s 2015 contract.

Boswell is attached to that $2.9MM RFA tender price presently. The Steelers, who couldn’t agree to an extension with Le’Veon Bell to reduce his $14.5MM 2018 cap hold, currently have just more than $4MM in cap space.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/2/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Waived: DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones

Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: G Nick Callender

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • Waived/injured: G Nate Theaker

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ben Roethlisberger Down 15 Pounds

  • Ben Roethlisberger is down approximately 15 pounds at Steelers camp, with Mark Kaboly of The Athletic noting the 15th-year quarterback weighs 250. Big Ben hinted at retirement following the 2016 season but reaffirmed his commitment to the Steelers after last season concluded. He’s now hinted at being interested in signing another Pittsburgh extension, with negotiations likely set for 2019 (his contract year).

Ramon Foster Will Not Require Surgery, To Miss Four To Five Weeks

Good news for Steelers fans. Left guard Ramon Foster, who was carted off the practice field yesterday, hyperextended his knee but did not suffer any ligament damage and will not require surgery, as Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). Kinkhabwala adds that Foster will miss four to five weeks but is expected to be ready for Week 1.

Ramon Foster Carted Off Field

  • Ramon Foster has played more Steelers snaps than anyone since the 2009 season (h/t Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com), but he was carted off the practice field Saturday. During a full-contact workout, Stephon Tuitt rolled into Foster’s right leg, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter links). Mike Tomlin did not elaborate on the issue, only saying that the 10th-year guard is being evaluated for a “lower-body” injury, per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (via Twitter). A Foster loss would represent a major setback for the Steelers. Foster’s a seven-season full-time starter and is in the final year of his deal. Ben Roethlisberger consoled the 32-year-old guard as he was carted away.
  • Roethlisberger has shown up to camp in noticeably better shape, with La Canfora noting the Steelers expected their quarterback to show up prepared to earn one final blockbuster extension. Although a report surfaced about the Steelers and Roethlisberger were planning to discuss a re-up this offseason, the 15th-year quarterback said he didn’t want to do a deal before this season. But he’ll be set for a contract year in 2019.
  • While the Steelers do, however, have a Chris Boswell extension slotted as a preseason priority, JLC adds the team shouldn’t be expected to make a Joe Haden-style addition before the season. Pittsburgh added the longtime Cleveland cornerback on a $9MM-per-year deal late last summer but holds barely $5MM in cap space presently. Boswell is entering a contract year.