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Predicting the future of the Steelers 2019 Unrestricted Free Agents

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The Steelers have some tough decisions to make, and we predict what will happen with the team’s unrestricted free agents.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers offseason is officially upon us, and the one thing everyone tries to predict and speculate is the future of the franchise. Whether it be coaching positions being filled/vacated, or the decisions made by the scouting department in the 2019 NFL Draft. Either way, some tough decisions will be made this offseason.

For me, none will be more difficult than the decisions the team will have to make with their Unrestricted Free Agents. Some decisions might be obvious, while others will have some serious significance with the roster heading into next season.

Therefore, I am going to go down the complete list of Steelers Unrestricted Free Agents and give my prediction of whether they stay, or go, and a brief reason why. Feel free to let me know what you think of my decisions, and post your own list in the comment section below!

2019 Steelers Unrestricted Free Agents

Le’Veon Bell
Prediction: Gone

While this might be obvious to some, there are still some reports swirling regarding the Steelers trying to lock up Bell. I don’t see this happening after James Conner’s 2018 season, also the team hopefully looking forward to moving on from the drama involving Bell, and his high price tag.

Stevan Ridley
Prediction: Gone

I liked the move when the Steelers brought Ridley back in 2018, but after two critical fumbles in limited action, it is time to go.

Darrius Heyward-Bey
Prediction: Re-sign for a team-friendly 2-year deal

Heyward-Bey is a no-drama guy who has put his ego aside to be a special teams player. He can still run, and is a leader in the locker room. Plus, I’ve predicted him to be cut the last 3 seasons, and he sticks around. Clearly the team likes him...I see him coming back.

Justin Hunter
Prediction: Gone

Hunter is coming off a torn labrum in his shoulder, but never seemed to find a niche with this team. While I wouldn’t be shocked if they offered him a deal similar to the one I referenced with Heyward-Bey, I’ll project he looks for work elsewhere.

Eli Rogers
Prediction: Stays with the team

This from BTSC’s contract/salary cap guru Simon Chester:
“There is a strong possibility the contracts of Eli Rogers and Ryan Shazier will be tolled, so both would remain under contract for the Steelers next year.”

With that said, I think the Steelers would try to bring Rogers back even if the contract wasn’t tolled anyway. He looked good once coming off the PUP list this season.

Jesse James
Prediction: Re-signed to 3-year contract

James is a local kid who is about to hit the free agent market for the first time in his career; however, I don’t think the Steelers even let that happen. James has been a solid producer for the Steelers, and plays a position with is very thin within the organization.

Ramon Foster
Prediction: Re-signed to 2-year contract

Big Ragu might not be the most athletic offensive guard on the team, but he is a very important part of the group. While B.J. Finney waits in the wings, I feel the Steelers still like him as a backup center/guard and will try to keep their starting line intact for the duration of Ben Roethlisberger’s career.

Tyson Alualu
Prediction: Re-Signed to 2-year contract

Alualu has been quality depth for the Steelers, and can play all three positions along their defensive front. Re-signing him might not be cheap, but would be worth the money.

L.T. Walton
Prediction: Gone

Walton was inactive for a lot of games this season, and his performance when seeing the field was very underwhelming. I don’t foresee the Steelers bringing him back unless Alualu is unable to be re-signed.

Daniel McCullers
Prediction: Gone

The Steelers gave the McCullers experiment one more year, for some reason, and I think it is finally time to pull the plug on the whole affair. I’ve seen enough of the Shade Tree getting pushed backwards.

Ryan Shazier
Prediction: Stays with the team

This from BTSC’s contract/salary cap guru Simon Chester:
“There is a strong possibility the contracts of Eli Rogers and Ryan Shazier will be tolled, so both would remain under contract for the Steelers next year.”

While Shazier continues to rehab, he will remain with the Steelers...and this is a good thing.

L.J. Fort
Prediction: Re-Signed to 3-year contract

Fort proved his value to this team in 2018 as a sub package specialist. While not the complete linebacker, his depth and experience can be a very valuable piece of the Steelers’ defensive puzzle. At worst, Fort would be a great insurance policy if the team is unable to land a free agent, or draft pick, at the position.

Anthony Chickillo
Prediction: Re-Signed to 2-year contract

Chickillo is a standout special teams player, and has turned into decent depth at OLB. I wouldn’t break the bank to keep him, but if the price is right I’d be willing to have him back.

Coty Sensabaugh
Prediction: Re-Signed to 2-year contract

The Artie Burns’ debacle has led the team with no choice but to try and bring back Sensabaugh as quality depth, and, like Fort, a decent insurance policy. Like Chickillo, I wouldn’t break the bank for him, and could easily see him attracting other offers through free agency.

Nat Berhe
Prediction: Gone

Coming off a torn pectoral muscle, Berhe wasn’t the player many saw when he was picked up in free agency. I don’t see a spot for him next season on this roster.

Jordan Berry
Prediction: Re-Signed to 1-year contract

I expect the team to bring in some competition, but Berry had a much better second half of the season compared to the first half. Give him a one year “show me” deal, and see what he does with it.

For a complete list of the Steelers Free Agents, check the image below: