Shaun Suisham

This Date In Transactions History: Steelers’ Shaun Suisham Retires

Three years ago today, Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham was forced to hang ’em up. Once one of the league’s most accurate kickers, Suisham suffered a setback in his recovery from an ACL tear and did not feel that he could return to his previous form. 

From 2012-2014, Suisham sank 91.6% of his field goal tries. But, in the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, Suisham went down with a serious knee injury, costing him the entire season.

My journey in the NFL has come to a crossroads,” Suisham said in a statement. “I was raised in Wallaceburg, Ontario, as a hockey player and have been on an improbable 16-year journey as a kicker, competing at the highest level. The absolute nature of my position has given me the opportunity to test my resolve, and I have grown both professionally and as a man. Undoubtedly, I will miss the challenge of game day and the preparation that is required. Change is hard, but I’m comfortable with where I am in life as a husband and father.”

While Suisham was out, a young kicker by the name of Chris Boswell stepped up and proved to be just as precise. In his first NFL season, Boswell made 90.6% of his field goals, including both of his attempts from 50+ yards out. The Steelers were hoping to give Suisham the opportunity to regain his job, but the battle was over before it could really heat up.

This offseason, the Steelers could be on the verge of another kicking change. Despite a strong rookie season and a stellar 2017 that resulted in his first ever Pro Bowl nod, Boswell is on the bubble after posting a dismal 65% field goal percentage in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Shaun Suisham Cut By Steelers, Will Retire

10:06am: It sounds as though Suisham is retiring following his release today. In a statement to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link), Suisham reflected on his career and discussed life after football:

Unfortunately, the injury I sustained in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game last preseason was catastrophic and has proven to be critical to continuing my career. My journey in the NFL has come to a crossroads. I was raised in Wallaceburg, Ontario, as a hockey player and have been on an improbable 16-year journey as a kicker, competing at the highest level. The absolute nature of my position has given me the opportunity to test my resolve, and I have grown both professionally and as a man. Undoubtedly, I will miss the challenge of game day and the preparation that is required. Change is hard, but I’m comfortable with where I am in life as a husband and father.”

9:20am: The Steelers announced that they have released kicker Shaun Suisham with a failed physical designation. According to the team’s announcement, Suisham suffered a setback in his recovery from an ACL tear.Shaun Suisham (vertical)

“Unfortunately Shaun incurred a setback in his recovery from knee surgery that won’t allow him to compete in a timely manner,” Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. “Shaun has played a significant role in our success during his time in Pittsburgh. He has been the consummate professional on the field and in our community. We wish he and his family all the best in the future.”

Suisham recently admitted that he wasn’t sure if he would be ready for training camp at the end of July.

Any sort of a battle is not an issue with me right now because I am not healthy,” Suisham said. “I will continue to work to get there, but I don’t know when that will be. I don’t have a time frame. Hopefully, it is for training camp.”

Suisham signed a four-year, $12.5MM extension in 2014, making him one of the top 10 highest-paid kickers in the NFL. Now, by releasing him, the Steelers will save $2.4MM against the cap. Chris Boswell, who appears to have won the kicker battle that never really got underway, makes the NFL minimum $525K.

Suisham spent the 2015 season on IR and Boswell sank 29 of 32 field goal tries while he was sidelined. Even though Boswell did enough in the eyes of many to win the kicking job for 2016, the Steelers still wanted to give Suisham every opportunity to try and claim the role for the coming year. Unfortunately, the 34-year-old was not able to heal up in time.

Over the course of his ten-year career (excluding his lost 2015 campaign), Suisham has suited up for the Cowboys, Redskins, and Steelers. In his last five years with Pittsburgh, Suisham has nailed 84.1% of his field goal attempts and 99.3% of his extra point tries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Suisham, Manziel

Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham is supposed to be in a roster battle with Chris Boswell, but there might not be much of a fight if Suisham doesn’t get healthy soon, as Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Suisham says he has yet to recover from a torn ACL that he suffered last year and he has not attempted a kick since then. Now, Suisham isn’t sure if he will be ready for training camp at the end of July.

Any sort of a battle is not an issue with me right now because I am not healthy,” Suisham said. “I will continue to work to get there, but I don’t know when that will be. I don’t have a time frame. Hopefully, it is for training camp.”

Suisham signed a four-year, $12.5MM extension in 2014, making him one of the top 10 highest-paid kickers in the NFL. The Steelers would save $2.4MM by releasing him. Boswell, meanwhile, makes the NFL minimum $525K.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

Steelers Notes: Suisham, Boykin, Colbert

Shaun Suisham spent the season on IR and while he was out, kicker Chris Boswell sank 29 of 32 field goal tries. Will it be out with the old and in with the new for the Steelers? Not quite. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert says the team won’t cut Suisham anytime soon and instead the team will have a kicker competition, as Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.

We feel very fortunate we have two kickers to work with. We should have a great competitive situation,” Colbert said (Twitter link via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).

Here’s more on the Steelers:

  • Colbert said that cornerback Brandon Boykin didn’t play as much as the player and the team anticipated, Dulac tweets. When asked about the free agent, Colbert said, “He helped us down the stretch. He’ll definitely be an option [to re-sign] for us” (link).
  • The feeling is mutual, as Boykin says he’d consider a return. “At the end, the organization said they appreciated how I went about it, being a pro, not really talking about it,” Boykin said (via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com). “I don’t have any hard feelings toward Pittsburgh. Absolutely, under the right circumstances, for sure [I’d return].” Boykin, Pro Football Focus’ 10th-ranked free-agent cornerback (sub req’d), was mainly relegated to special teams duty in 2015. That was a big step down for Boykin who recorded six interceptions with the Eagles in 2013.
  • Colbert says his focus is on keeping talent in-house rather than acquiring it elsewhere (Twitter link via Dulac). “If there is a guy on outside who makes us better we’ll plug him in. Our big play is keeping our own,” the GM said.
  • Colbert says the team’s cap situation “relative to other years is pretty good,” (Twitter link via Dulac). He went on to say that the team doesn’t have to “make a lot of drastic changes.”
  • Earlier today, Colbert indicated to reporters that James Harrison is in the team’s plans for 2016. Soon after, the linebacker’s agent hinted that his client plans to be in camp with Pittsburgh, though other reps of his say things are still up in the air.

AFC North Notes: Burfict, Browns, Suisham

Shortly after word broke a month ago that Vontaze Burfict would face a three-game suspension for repeated on-field safety violations, reports indicated that the Bengals linebacker would meet with commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the penalty. That meeting, which Burfict hopes will help get his suspension reduced, hasn’t happened yet, but it’s set to take place within the next week, according to Coley Harvey and James Walker of ESPN.com.

Here’s more from out of the AFC North:

  • Browns director of football research Ken Kovash has received a promotion from the team, a source tells Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (Twitter links). The team is still determining his new title, but Kovash is expected to help new VP of player personnel Andrew Berry run the Browns’ scouting department.
  • Chris Boswell converted 29 of 32 field goal tries for the Steelers in 2015, but veteran kicker Shaun Suisham, who spent the season on IR, fully intends to reclaim his job this year, as he tells Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The first thing I need to do is get healthy,” said Suisham, who continues to recover from a torn ACL. “If I’m healthy, I think I will be in good position to get my old job back.”
  • Few NFL teams restructure contracts as frequently as the Steelers do, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, who takes an in-depth look at why Pittsburgh is constantly moving around money, how it benefits the club, and how it can backfire as well.
  • Hue Jackson‘s first major challenge will be carrying out a culture change in the Browns‘ locker room, Bud Shaw of Cleveland.com writes. Shaw wonders if the Browns will now put more emphasis on character in the draft now that Jackson is part of the organization.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Three Steelers Players Restructure Contracts

The Steelers have restructured the contracts for three of their players, freeing up $6MM in cap space for 2015 with the moves, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Schefter reports that wide receiver Antonio Brown, tight end Heath Miller, and kicker Shaun Suisham all had their deals reworked.

The most interesting move of the three is the Steelers’ decision to rework Brown’s deal. Per Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter), it’s not just a simple restructure for the star wideout, who had been seeking a new contract this offseason. Brown won’t get a significant raise or extension, but Pittsburgh has moved up $2MM from his 2016 base salary to 2015, making it part of a new signing bonus.

While specific details on the other restructures haven’t yet been reported, I would expect Miller and Suisham to have a portion of their 2015 base salaries converted to signing bonuses. Miller had been set to earn a $4MM salary this season, while Suisham would’ve earned a $2.595MM salary.

According to Schefter (via Twitter), the Steelers intend to use the majority of their newly-created cap room to offset the large number of injured players they have counting against their cap this year. One of those injured players is Suisham, and today’s moves were likely necessary, in part, to help accommodate the salary of kicker Josh Scobee, acquired by Pittsburgh yesterday from the Jaguars.

AFC Notes: Pouncey, Ravens, Fitzpatrick

As Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes, Derek Newton‘s new five-year contract with the Texans, signed back in March, didn’t create the biggest headlines at the times, but it’s looking like one of the best moves of the team’s offseason. Although he’s penciled in as Houston’s starting right tackle, Newton has filled in at guard and left tackle as well, and offensive coordinator George Godsey praised his willingness to help out in any way he can.

“He has a ‘coach me, Coach’ attitude,” Godsey said. “Even though we coach that position, that whole group, (offensive line coach) Mike Devlin does a great job and coaches them hard. He’s come to work every day. I couldn’t ask any more from Derek this preseason.”

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • While head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers won’t commit to a specific timeline for center Maurkice Pouncey, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review suggests Pouncey will be back sometime after the club’s Week 11 bye. That would mean the veteran lineman will miss at least 10 games, making him a clear-cut candidate for the Steelers’ IR-DTR slot.
  • In his latest round-up of Ravens news and notes, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun identifies several higher-profile players who could be on the team’s roster bubble, and writes that Dennis Pitta continues to work hard, intent on eventually returning and making an impact for the club.
  • Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham didn’t just tear his ACL on the play that knocked him out of action for the 2015 season. As he tells John Kryk of the Toronto Sun. Suisham also tore his medial meniscus. The veteran kicker is glad the injury happened during the preseason rather than in November or December though, since it gives him a full year to recover for the 2016 season.
  • As he heads into a contract year, Ryan Fitzpatrick will have an opportunity to start at quarterback for the Jets, and the veteran signal-caller tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that the possibility of a breakout year, even at age 32 (33 in November) isn’t out of the question. “So much of the game for the quarterback is the mental side of it,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everybody always talks about my arm and how horrible it is. I promise… you can put on some tape (and see) that I can make all the throws that you want me to make or that I need to make. … I see myself continuing to get better rather than declining.”

Steelers Sign David Nelson, Put Suisham On IR

The Steelers have made a handful of roster moves, replacing two injured players with two healthy bodies. According to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter), the team has placed kicker Shaun Suisham on injured reserve and waived/injured running back Cameron Stingily. With the two openings, Pittsburgh signed veteran wide receiver David Nelson and Braylon Heard.

Nelson, 28, has spent the last several seasons with the Bills and Jets, recording 138 catches and 1,530 receiving yards over the course of his five-year career. His best season came in Buffalo in 2011, when he racked up 658 yards and five touchdowns on 61 receptions. Most recently, Nelson grabbed eight balls in part-time action for the Jets last year, but was cut in October when the club acquired Percy Harvin. The Florida product also tried out for the Bengals this summer.

As for Suisham, we heard earlier this week that the Steelers kicker suffered a torn ACL and was expected to miss the 2015 season — this transaction confirms it. The club signed free agent kicker Garrett Hartley yesterday to replace Suisham for the year.

Heard, meanwhile, replaces Stingily in the Steelers’ backfield this month, but will have an uphill battle to earn a spot on the team’s regular season roster, even with Le’Veon Bell suspended for the first two games. Stingily figures to land on Pittsburgh’s IR if he goes unclaimed on waivers.

According to Kaboly, wide receiver Jarrod West also worked out for the Steelers before they decided to sign Nelson.

Shaun Suisham May Have Torn ACL

Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham has told people the belief is he tore his ACL, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The kicker will have an MRI done later today to confirm the likely diagnosis.

Suisham, 33, signed a four-year extension with the Steelers last year that takes him through the 2018 season. Across the last five seasons with the Steelers, Suisham has connected on 87.9% of his field goal attempts, though that average was weighed down by a subpar 2011 campaign. Last season, he converted on 90.6% of his field goal tries, missing only one chip shot and two 50 yard+ attempts. From 30-49 yards out, he was a flawless 16-16.

Prior to joining the Steelers in 2010, Suisham spent time with the Cowboys and Washington. For his career, he has converted on 274 out of 276 extra point tries. In the last five years with Pittsburgh, he has never missed a PAT.

Steelers Extend Shaun Suisham

TUESDAY, 7:55am: Per ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter), Suisham’s four-year extension is worth $13.1MM, with $2.85MM guaranteed. Though the guarantee is a little less than what most other top kickers have received on their four-year deals, Suisham’s per-year average stacks up favorably, putting him just outside the top five.

FRIDAY, 9:22am: The Steelers announced that they have extended the contract of Shaun Suisham through the 2018 season with a four-year deal, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports 1 (on Twitter). Suisham’s previous deal was set to expire after the 2014 campaign.

The 32-year-old has connected on 87.2% of his field goal attempts with the Steelers over the past four seasons and boasts an even sharper 92% conversion rate over the last two seasons. Suisham’s 93.8% mark on field goals last season was good for third in the NFL behind Matt Prater and Steven Hauschka amongst kickers who played in all 16 games. The veteran hasn’t always been this accurate as career his 83.1% field goal percentage shows. Suisham also boasts a perfect 128-128 mark on extra point attempts across the last four years.

Prior to joining the Steelers in 2010, Suisham spent time with the Cowboys and Redskins. Financial terms of Suisham’s deal are not yet known but it will be interesting to see how it stacks up to the three-year deal Hauschka signed to stay with Seattle this offseason. Hauschka’s pact is worth $9.15MM over those three years, with a guarantee of $3.35MM.