That was it, or so we thought. As fans discussed how the team should bring back an experienced player like Eli Rogers, it turns out the team won’t have to. Why? Because his contract tolls to 2019 keeping him on the roster, and not a free agent.
This from Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network:
Reiterating what we said on air yesterday, #Steelers WR Eli Rogers is still under contract. The CBA says that if a player is in the final year of his contract, and is still physically unable to perform his football services as of the sixth game, his contract will be tolled.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 12, 2019
For die hard readers of BTSC, this isn’t anything new. Our own Simon Chester wrote this about both Rogers and Ryan Shazier’s contracts tolling in January:
Pittsburgh should also see the return of two names who began 2018 as their final year under contract, but missed enough of the season to be eligible to have their contracts tolled in 2019. With Ryan Shazier and Eli Rogers having started the year on the physically unable to perform list (PUP), both will see their contracts rolled over into next year.
As per the CBA.
“Any player placed on a Physically Unable to Perform list (“PUP”) will be paid his full Paragraph 5 Salary while on such list. His contract will not be tolled for the period he is on PUP, except in the last year of his contract, when the player’s contract will be tolled if he is still physically unable to perform his football services as of the sixth regular season game.”
Simply put, when a contract tolls, it effectively means it has been put on hold for a year, resuming the following season. The same thing also happened to the contract of Martavis Bryant when he missed a year due to suspension. In this instance, Shazier obviously sat of the entire season, while Rogers was not activated until well after Week 6.
While this news doesn’t remove the wide receiver position from the team needs list, it certainly helps bolster a position which was extremely thin. The Steelers are showing interest in several receivers in free agency, and will likely target some in the 2019 NFL Draft too.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as the offseason is just getting warmed up!