Teams have until March 17 to extend tender offers to their restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents. . Some teams are already making their calls in advance of March 17. We’ll keep tabs on the latest here:
The rare 11-1 team in a heated battle for a No. 1 seed, the Steelers will make their trip to Buffalo severely shorthanded at linebacker.
Pittsburgh placed Robert Spillane on IR Saturday. The recent replacement starter suffered a knee injury during the Steelers’ loss to Washington on Monday. He will join Devin Bush on the injured list, though it is not certain if Spillane is out for the season. The young defender will be out until at least Week 17, however.
Altogether, the Steelers are down Spillane, Bush and Vince Williamsat off-ball linebacker. The latter is on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. This will increase the importance of the team’s October trade for Avery Williamson. The veteran stands to be a first-stringer against the Bills; his most recent start came in Week 8 when still a member of the Jets.
Spillane stepped in for Bush after he went down earlier in the season. A third-year UDFA, Spillane started seven games, made 45 tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown against the Ravens.
The Steelers made multiple moves to help with linebacker depth Saturday, activating Ulysees Gilbert and promoting Tegray Scales from their practice squad. Pittsburgh is tied with Kansas City atop the AFC, though the Steelers still hold the tiebreaker.
Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers are noted below.
Additionally, as of today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.
Here are Sunday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:
The Steelers got down to the 53-man max by releasing wide receiver Eli Rogers and a host of other players. Among other notables released 2019 draft picks Sutton Smith (linebacker, sixth round) and Derwin Grey (offensive lineman, seventh round), as well as Marcus Allen, a fifth-round defensive back from the 2018 class.
Rogers came out of nowhere and had a breakout season in 2016, catching 48 passes for 594 yards and three touchdowns in just 13 games. It was a promising debut, but he took a pretty big step backwards the next season when he had just 149 yards and 18 catches. Then in the playoffs, he suffered a torn ACL. The ACL took a long time to recover from, and Rogers didn’t end up making it back until Week 15 of last year.