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Steelers sign seven, including Kion Wilson, to futures contracts

Retaining players to let them develop in the offseason is going to be key in bolstering this roster in the future.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

From a starter to a future contract, and everywhere in between. That's been Kion Wilson's year. A crazy one, to put it mildly.

The Steelers inked Wilson, along with RB Alvester Alexander, WR Justin Brown, G Bryant Browning, G Chris Hubbard, WR Kashif Moore and S Ross Ventrone to futures contracts this week, basically meaning the team has the right to retain them through free agency. It lets them prepare for minicamp and other offseason activities.

The Steelers will also hang onto defensive end Nick Williams and offensive guard Nik Embernate, both of whom were placed on injured reserve during training camp.

Wilson was the first replacement for veteran ILB Larry Foote, who ruptured a biceps during the team's season-opening loss to Tennessee. He was on the roster, off the roster all season, but earned enough to get a look at continuing with the team into the 2014 schedule.

Moore and Ventrone are two players the Steelers seem particularly interested in, considering their longevity in these kinds of roles. Longshots to ever see significant playing time, they're two guys to watch in the future.