Exclusive rights free agent Robert Spillane has officially signed his tender with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2021 NFL season. The Steelers offered the tender to Spillane on March 13 but he was unable to sign the contract until today.
Undrafted out of the Western Michigan in 2018, Spillane landed with the Tennessee Titans following the NFL draft. Failing to make the 53-man roster, Spillane landed on the practice squad to start the season. In October, Spillane was activated to the 53-man roster and appeared in two games before being released. Signing with the Steelers in the offseason, Spillane made the practice squad in Pittsburgh in 2019 only to be released several weeks later. Re-signed in October, Spillane was activated to the Steelers 53-man roster for the final eight games of the season where he notched 11 tackles.
For 2020, Spillane was the primary back up at linebacker as the Steelers entered the season. After Devin Bush suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 6, Spillane took over the starting duties where he totaled 39 tackles, three quarterback hits, a fumble recovery, and an interception returned for a touchdown. Landing on injured reserve following the Steelers Week 12 loss to the Washington Football Team, Spillane returned to the Steelers in the postseason and had six tackles while playing 88% of the Steelers defensive snaps.
For those wondering how exclusive rights tenders works, the player has no negotiating power and is strictly at the mercy of the team if they choose to retain them. The contract is for one season and is at the NFL league minimum salary.
Exclusive rights free agent J.C. Hassenauer and Marcus Allen previously signed their tenders. With Spillane signing his deal, all the Steelers’ ERFAs for 2021 have been signed.
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