The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly made another in-house move during the legal tampering period leading up to the start of the 2022 NFL league year. According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, the Steelers are offering a right of first refusal tender to restricted free agent Robert Spillane.
The Steelers have given ILB Robert Spillane a right of first refusal tender, per source.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) March 14, 2022
Means he’d be on the books for about $2.4M in 22. Steelers can match any offer, but they don’t get compensation if they decide not to match.
Appearing in 14 games with four starts in 2021, Spillane had a career high 56 tackles, two of which were for loss. During the 2020 season, Spillane saw seven starts in 12 games where he had a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown as well as four passes defensed, a fumble recovery, 2.0 sacks, and 45 tackles.
Starting the final three regular season games as well as the Steelers Wild Card matchup in the 2021 season, Spillane saw a huge increase in snaps for the Steelers starting in Week 16. Additionally, Spillane only had four missed tackles on the season according to Pro Football Reference, leaving him with a 6.7% missed tackle percentage.
In having a right of first refusal tender, Spillane is set to cost $2.433 million against the salary cap should he sign the tender. By being a right of first refusal, Spillane is free to sign a deal with another team if he wants to test the waters. The Steelers will ultimately be able to match the deal if they choose. If not, there would be no return compensation for Spillane.
With a tender now given to Spillane, he joins other inside linebackers currently under contract with the Steelers in Devin Bush, Joe Schobert, Ulysees Gilbert III, and Buddy Johnson.
UPDATE: The Steelers have also reportedly tendered linebacker Marcus Allen who is also a restricted free agent. This according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
Whether Allen was given the same tender as Spillane for $2.433 million or has a slightly higher amount of the original-round tender of $2.54 million has not been reported. If the Steelers used the original-round tender, they would receive a fifth-round draft pick in return if Allen signed with another NFL team. Of course, the Steelers would have the right to match the deal as well.
A fifth-round draft pick in 2018, Marcus Allen recently made the change from safety to linebacker. In his career, he has 45 tackles, two of which were for loss, and two quarterback hits in four seasons. In 2020 Allen played 206 snaps on defense appearing in 14 games with one start but saw only 62 defensive snaps in 2021 in one game started. Allen did play 301 special team snaps for the Steelers last season.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Steelers venture through the 2022 free agency period.