Player News - Steelers

Date: Team: Pos:

Sammie Coates (groin surgery) said his health is "getting there."

Coates underwent groin surgery after the season. It sounds like he is not completely back to full health, but he was able to participate in the offseason program. "I'm starting to get back my speed," Coates said. "That's what this process is for, to get your body back so you can compete during camp." With Martavis Bryant back, Coates will need to show well in camp to even earn a roster spot. Being healthy would be a good start.
Source: ESPN
Jun 22 - 12:12 PM

Steelers.com's Bob Labriola wrote he "cannot imagine a realistic scenario" in which franchise-tagged Le'Veon Bell holds out into the season.

Bell has yet to sign his franchise tender, but when he does he will be owed $12.1 million, almost $6 million more than any other running back will receive in base salary this year. Even if he does not get the long-term deal he wants before the July 17 deadline, Bell is unlikely to leave that kind of money on the table. While some contract certainty would be nice, Bell is still safe to select with one the top two picks in fantasy drafts.
Jun 22 - 9:18 AM

Steelers.com's Bob Labriola believes TE Xavier Grimble could "make a run" at the starting job.

Labriola wrote Grimble "has flashed the ability to be special" but struggles with consistency. Grimble is a more dynamic receiving weapon than presumed starter Jesse James, who has averaged 8.4 yards on 47 career receptions. If he proves more reliable in camp, it would not be surprising to see Grimble push James for the starting job.
Jun 22 - 9:08 AM

Ben Roethlisberger and Jesse James spent a considerable amount of time working on their red-zone connection at spring practices.

Ben "consistently targeted James in the end zone" at OTAs and minicamp, and it was "100 percent by design" as a teaching point for the 23-year-old tight end to be more aggressive in the scoring area. James saw 62 targets a year ago but figures to see a bump up after the release of Ladarius Green. James will look to build on a postseason that saw him post a 10-131 receiving line.
Jun 21 - 2:28 PM

Ben Roethlisberger said reinstated WR Martavis Bryant "looks like a stud, as usual."

The quarterback previously said Bryant would have to earn back his teammates' trust after missing all of last season due to suspension. It seems like he is on the right path to doing that, with Roethlisberger saying, "We’re excited for him to be on the field this year and help us out." A mistake away from another suspension, Bryant is a risky fantasy bet, but he also carries high-end WR2 upside.
Jun 19 - 9:18 AM

Steelers RCB Artie Burns is showing well in man coverage during minicamp.

After being roasted by the Patriots in the playoffs, the Steelers want to incorporate more man coverage. There was concern 2016 first-rounder Burns would struggle with the transition. "He’s being really physical. He’s challenging Antonio Brown, arguably one of the best receivers in the league, every day," DBs coach Carnell Lake said. "The more competent he is covering somebody like AB, he should be able to transfer that to our competitors." Solid as a rookie, Burns looks set to be even better and more versatile this season.
Jun 15 - 10:32 AM

Steelers OC Todd Haley said there have been "discussions" about the right workload for Le'Veon Bell (groin surgery).

Bell has played in just 18 games the last two years because of suspensions and injuries, but Haley thinks those absences are due to "oddball" things. "He’s a guy who gets stronger every game. He does not want to come out of the game. He’s a year older," Haley said. "We’ve got to make sure we cover all of that, which we will do as a staff." A transcendent talent who is about to get paid like one, it will be difficult for the Steelers to justify taking Bell off the field very often, but the 336 touches he saw in just 12 games last season are excessive. With at least a respectable backup in third-rounder James Conner, the Steelers take some touches off Bell's plate per game. Even so, he remains one of the top-two players in all of fantasy.
Source: ESPN
Jun 15 - 8:47 AM

Steelers signed first-round OLB T.J. Watt to a four-year contract.

J.J.'s younger brother, T.J. figures to mix in behind James Harrison and Bud Dupree, especially in pass-rushing situations. The younger Watt drew some Clay Matthews comps coming out of Wisconsin.
Jun 14 - 1:33 PM

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette expects Eli Rogers to remain the Steelers' slot receiver this year.

Second-round pick JuJu Smith-Schuster is practicing in the slot, but the Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette sees the rookie as more of an option in four-receiver packages. Rogers registered a 48/594/3 receiving line across 13 games in 2016. With Martavis Bryant back, Rogers won't be leaned on as much.
Jun 13 - 9:56 PM

Unsigned Steelers ERFA LT Alejandro Villanueva reported for minicamp on Tuesday.

Villanueva was under no obligation to report, but is doing his best to engender goodwill in contract talks. Villanueva lacks leverage — exclusive rights tags aren't negotiable — but the Steelers would be risking an unhappy blindside protector by forcing him to play for $615,000. There have been indications the Steelers are willing to play ball.
Jun 13 - 2:10 PM

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports franchise-tagged RB Le'Veon Bell "has not been spotted at minicamp."

Bell has not signed his franchise tender, so he is not obligated to attend. The running back also did not show for OTAs, although he did meet with team doctors regarding his recovery from groin surgery. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette speculated a long-term deal between Bell and the Steelers "may not get done," both because of the value of the franchise tender ($12.12 million) and Bell's injury and suspension history. The two sides have until July 15 to work something out.
Jun 13 - 9:42 AM

Steelers signed third-round CB Cameron Sutton to a four-year contract.

Sutton was a four-year starter at Tennessee who set a school record for pass breakups, but he tested as a below-average athlete at the Combine. That said, he earned praise for his work at OTAs and should be given every shot to earn a role in the secondary.
Jun 13 - 9:06 AM

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette speculated a long-term deal between franchise-tagged RB Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers "may not get done."

The two sides have until July 15. Bouchette notes the value of the tag ($12.12 million) along with Bell's injury and suspension history make working out a long-term deal difficult. Bell will likely be looking for the value of this year's tag and next year's tag ($14.5 million) guaranteed, which is a full $8 million more than LeSesan McCoy was guaranteed on his last deal. Bell could also see $12 million as the starting point for annual average, which is $4 million more than McCoy's contract. Bell may be worth those numbers, but the changing nature of the running back market makes his negotiations extremely tricky.
Jun 13 - 8:36 AM

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said it "would be a little bit of a surprise" if Le'Veon Bell (groin surgery) attends minicamp.

Rapoport does not seem to be reporting as much as connecting the dots with Bell, saying players who have not signed their franchise tenders "rarely show up for offseason events." Even if he attends, Bell will not be able to work with the team as he recovers from offseason groin surgery. The two sides have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal.
Source: NFL.com
Jun 12 - 9:46 AM

Unsigned Steelers ERFA LT Ali Villanueva has been participating in OTAs without a contract.

Villanueva has made it known he wants a new deal as a 29-year-old ERFA scheduled to make just $615,000 in 2017, but he's not letting it get in the way of becoming a better player. He's taking a major risk by signing a waiver to practice without a contract. Villanueva could get seriously injured, which would then ruin his chances at a long-term deal. The Steelers need to do right by him.
Jun 9 - 9:39 AM


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