The Pittsburgh Steelers are continuing to shape their roster in preparation for the start of the 2021 NFL league year on March 17. One of the items of business was making the decision on whether or not to tender their Restricted Free Agents. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Steelers are not offering a tender for outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi.
With the salary cap tight, the #Steelers are not able to tender RFA special teams ace & backup OLB Ola Adeniyi, source said. He’ll be a free agent.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2021
The Steelers only had two restricted free agents this offseason. Ray-Ray McCloud was not offered a tender but instead was signed this week by the Steelers to a one-year deal.
How Restricted Free Agents work is teams have the option to keep said player for one year based on if they offer them a first round, a second round, or a right of first refusal tender. If offering a first or second round tender, these players could still negotiate a deal with another team which the Steelers could choose to match or receive the other teams draft pick from that round depending on which tender was given. The 2021 Restricted Free Agent tender amount for a first-round tender is $4.766 million and a second-round tender is $3.384 million according to overthecap.com.
The other option is a right of first refusal tender which comes in as $2.133 million and simply allows the team to match the contract without any additional compensation.
When it comes to Ola Adeniyi, any of these contract amounts were too much for the Steelers to offer. By not offering the tender, Adeniyi will move into being an Unrestricted Free Agent and will be free to sign with any team when the legal tampering period starts on Monday. Until then, and beyond, there is still the option for Adeniyi to sign back with the Steelers much like Ray-Ray McCloud.
Adeniyi signed as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo in 2018 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Placed on Injured Reserve to begin the season, Adeniyi returned in December of his rookie year where he appeared in one game and played nine defensive snaps. Over the last two seasons, Adeniyi appeared in 31 games with one start and totaled three forced fumbles and 24 tackles. Adeniyi logged 144 defensive snaps in 2020 which was more than twice his 62 in 2019. Over the last two seasons, Adeniyi has over 500 special teams snaps.
Used primarily as a special teams player and in limited capacity in the outside linebacker rotation, Adeniyi could bring inexpensive depth to the edge rusher position either with the Steelers or somewhere else in the NFL.
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