Steelers Rumors

Steelers GM Pushing For Three Extra NFL Draft Rounds

The coronavirus has radically changed the NFL Draft process and Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has offered up one proposal to help teams adjust to the lack of workouts and Pro Days. Colbert has asked league officials to add an additional three rounds to this year’s draft, bringing the total number of rounds to ten, as Manish Mehta of the Daily News writes. 

In lieu of drills and auditions, teams are permitted to hold up to three hour-long video conferences per week with any prospect. Still, coaches and executives like Colbert feel like they are flying blind. The draft is already wildly unpredictable; now teams have less intel than ever before. Because there are bound to be many misfires, Colbert believes the Steelers (and other clubs) can offset things a bit with a greater margin for error.

It’s not immediately clear whether the league is giving real consideration to Colbert’s idea, but anything is possible given these unprecedented conditions. This year’s draft will be “fully virtual” with executives conducting their business in separate locations, rather than the initial plan of allowing teams to gather their front office officials in one room.

The league has done its best to adjust. For example, Tua Tagovailoa recently underwent a voluntary medical re-check via the league’s combine committee. Ordinarily, his surgically-repaired hip would have been examined by scores of team doctors in separate exams, Instead, every team was allowed to request specific tests and the results were then shared with all 32 clubs.

Steelers Notes: Ebron, Bucannon, LB

  • New Steelers tight end Eric Ebron said he still isn’t fully recovered from the ankle injury that forced him to injured reserve as a member of the Colts in 2019, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Ebron hasn’t been able to meet with the Steelers’ medical staff, but an independent doctor did examine his ankle, and Pittsburgh has officially announced its two-year, $12MM deal with the 26-year-old. Ebron, who says he decided to sign with the Steelers largely due to the presence of Ben Roethlisberger, had a public spat with the Colts when he decided to shut things down last November. Now, he’s expected to serve as one of Roethlisberger’s top offensive weapons while splitting time with fellow tight end Vance McDonald.
  • After releasing veteran Mark Barron last month, the Steelers now need to find another inside linebacker to play opposite 2019 first-rounder Devin Bush, as Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes. Vince Williams remains on Pittsburgh’s roster, and general manager Kevin Colbert says he’s “comfortable” with Williams as a starter (as he was in 2017-18 before losing snaps to Barron last season). Sources tell Kaboly the Steelers aren’t interested in Deone Bucannon, who remains on the free agent market, but the club could spend a draft pick on another ‘backer.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/26/20

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: LS Nick Moore

Cleveland Browns

Detroit News

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: LB Christian Kuntz

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/25/20

Here are today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

 

Steelers Likely To Extend Cam Heyward

  • Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward has been eyeing an extension since at least January, and according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the 30-year-old should receive a new deal “soon.” Heyward, is set to earn $9.5MM and count for ~13.25MM on the Steelers’ salary cap in 2020. An extension would give Heyward more immediate cash but likely lower his cap charge for next season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/20/20

Today’s running list of minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

  • Released: P Ryan Allen (this is only a procedural move and Allen is expected to be re-signed shortly, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets.)

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ravens To Trade Chris Wormley To Steelers

We have yet another trade in the NFL. The latest swap is an intra-divisional one: The Steelers will send a 2021 fifth-round pick to the Ravens for defensive lineman Chris Wormley and a 2021 seventh-rounder, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Wormley, a third-round pick in 2017, was tapped to be a younger replacement for Timmy Jernigan after he was shipped to the Eagles. He didn’t pan out exactly as hoped, but he did provide the Ravens with 39 appearances, including 15 starts, over the course of three seasons.

Along the way, Wormley managed 2.5 sacks from the interior. Last year, he saw 482 snaps with a roughly even split between passing and running plays. Pro Football Focus assigned him a 65.6 overall score, slotting him as the No. 63 ranked defensive tackle in the NFL. A repeat performance would make him a great value for Pittsburgh, as he still has one year to go on his original rookie deal.

Steelers To Sign Eric Ebron

The Steelers are signing tight end Eric Ebron to a two-year deal worth $12MM, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). It’s a relatively low-risk pickup that could pay big dividends for Ben Roethlisberger & Co.

Ebron, a former first-round pick, struggled early on in his career with the Lions. In 2018, he caught his second wind with the Colts. However, the team decided against re-signing him this offseason.

In ’18, Ebron got the drops under control and managed a 13-touchdown season with 66 catches for 750 yards. But, without quarterback Andrew Luck, Ebron was far less productive in 2019. The soon-to-be 27-year-old had just 31 grabs for 375 yards and three scores before landing on IR in late November with an ankle injury.

Then, there was drama. The Colts said they were not aware of Ebron having a serious ankle problem. Ebron fired back and issued a statement saying that the team knew about his severe pain since the start of the season.

The fences weren’t mended, and Ebron is moving on to Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Sign Stefen Wisniewski

The Steelers have agreed to a two-year deal with offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Pittsburgh had been searching for a new face at left guard, where Ramon Foster had been a linchpin since the 2009 campaign. Foster retired from the NFL earlier this week, leaving a massive hole along the Steelers’ front five. Now, Wisniewski will likely line up at guard in between left takcle Alejandro Villanueva and center Maurkice Pouncey.

Wisniewski, who turns 31 years old later this week, has played in 134 games since entering the NFL as a second-round Raiders draft pick in 2011. The Penn State alum appeared in 46 games with the Eagles from 2016-18 and won a Super Bowl, then joined the Chiefs last October for another Super Bowl run. Wisniewski started the final two games of the regular season for Kansas City before starting every game during the playoffs.

The Jets, whose interest in Wisniewski was reported earlier this week, made an “earnest effort” to sign the veteran guard, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. But Wisniewski, a Pittsburgh native, ultimately decided on a homecoming.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.