Fowler: Steelers To Sign WR Justin Hunter

The Pittsburgh Steelers will reportedly sign WR Justin Hunter, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Hunter is the first outside free agent to sign with the team and the Steelers are the second-to-last team to sign one, only doing so ahead of the Houston Texans.

He’s been a deep threat in his turbulent career, averaging 16.7 yards per catch over five seasons in the league. He spent 2016 with the Buffalo Bills, catching just ten passes but averaging nearly 19 yards per grab and four touchdowns.

A second round pick of the 2013 draft by the Tennessee Titans, Hunter is a Virginia Beach kid so it’s no surprise to see Mike Tomlin show interest. Hunter’s path to the 53 man roster seems difficult if Martavis Bryant is reinstated but ir provides an insurance policy against that and is a low-risk flier on a 25 year old who still has plenty of talent.

Look for a full scouting report on him later today.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • steelersfan

    Finally. New deep threat/redzone target for Ben to work with. Like the move

  • Steelking406

    I’ll take it.. should lower the urgency of drafting one high.. roster battle between him & Coates

  • Savvy move by FO I think. Nice piece to the puzzle

  • Ben Saluri

    Wait!! Is it April 1st???

  • Petherson Silveira

    Waiting to see the conteact numbers. But seems a good sign.

  • TroymanianDevil

    Good move, provides insurance against Bryant and also potentially Coates.

    Bigger question is how the hell do the wikipedia pages get updated so quickly for a move like this. I get the big name people but this type of move with min.. props wikipedia or steelers fan updating it immediately.

  • triplet99

    interesting. I always thought that this guy could play but he never had a real quartewrback to throw the ball his way.

  • alevin16

    I am guessing this means the Steelers will now receive no comp picks while the Ravens and Patriots each get another 1st rounder

  • harding36

    I think Hunter will beat Coats for that job, if it’s between the 2 of them.

  • WreckIess

    We have a few of this type of player already, but if they can get the most out of him it’s a great move. No special teams value so he’s going to have to be one of our better receivers to make the roster.

  • VinHuddle

    Agreed. Hopefully his hands are a little more reliable than Coates.

  • steelersfan

    And less mangled

  • harding36

    As I recall from the draft that year, his hands are an issue, but I think he at least has 10 fully functional fingers.

  • VinHuddle

    True, LOL!

  • Dubai Steeler

    Just thinking the same, Titans, Dolphins & Bills…..let’s see how he does with a quality QB.

    Probably means we focus on other areas during the draft too.

  • VinHuddle

    All pointing in the same direction?? I know…that was uncalled for.

  • Spencer Krick

    I’m 100% on board with this signing.

  • xXWARisHELLXx

    “plays slower than his 40 time” “has hands like feet” “lucky to catch it if he’s running the right route”

    A few things I’m hearing from Bills fans. I’m not amused.

  • Steelking406

    Coates can get it done on ST. You know how Mikey likes his ST guys..
    Should be good, but if Marty B keeps his stuff together I don’t know how much they see the field

  • dwsteelers

    Maybe MB won’t be reinstated?????

  • Steeldog22

    Maybe we can put to bed the talk about drafting a wideout now.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Hot dog! Some good news finally.

  • StillersInThe6

    Coates had a great 1st half, and a very poor 2nd half. There WAS an injury in the middle, but obviously toward the end it wasn’t an excuse. That being said, this seems like a fickle stance – WRs take time to develop and he’s shown great flashes in only 1 full season. I hope coaches are not as short-sighted (short memories) as some of our fans

  • steelersfan

    I don’t think that’s what influenced this move. Maybe more competition for Coates. Upgrade over Hamilton I would think

  • Biggie

    I like the kid, honestly been waiting for him to take off. He definitely gives us a good insurance policy over Bryant/Coates situations. I still expect a mid round draft pick. We should be good going into TC with Brown, Hunter, Coates, Rogers, Ayers, Hamilton, possibly Bryant and then a draft pick around 4th-6th round. I expect DHB to be gone.

  • RickM

    It’s kind of depressing that our first FA signing will be in a battle with Cobi and DHB to make the team. Oh well, it is what it is.

  • Aj Gentile

    NFL’s scouting report said he could line up in the slot too.

  • steelersfan

    I’ll take it!!

  • Spencer Krick

    Pretty much, unless the player is just too good to pass on. You can never have enough weapons.

  • StillersInThe6

    Indeed, but got to start somewhere.

  • Spencer Krick

    They didn’t have Coach Mann in Buffalo 😛

  • steelersfan

    Or Ben

  • harding36

    Good point about special teams. I could be wrong, but I think Hunter played some ST’s in Tenn. Wonder if he could return a kickoff past the 8 yardline?

  • Spencer Krick

    That is the sad truth, isn’t it?

    There’s no way he’s going to beat out DHB on ST’s.

  • steelersfan

    Internet fairies

  • rdjmsr53

    Well this replaces Wheaton’s spot. Looking more and more like ILB OLB in the draft. Remember the Steelers only replace positions they lose a player in. they don’t draft BPA because that might hurt someone’s feeling. Did they sign him because of his talent or where he is from? either way not news just filling up a roster

  • RickM

    Very true. Hopefully, almost assuredly, there will be more exciting news to come.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    For my money, he had too much hype leading up to the draft, so I like the Steelers bringing him in now to see if he’s a bit more polished.

  • AndyR34

    Sheesh…more depth on offense, when we need starters at other positions on defense. Don’t really need another DHB.

  • AndyR34

    I do not consider this exciting, necessary, nor helpful…merely a diversion.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Not sure how he helps with any of it. Mann either for that matter.

    Maybe Bills fans are just wrong but if they aren’t it isn’t a good sign.

  • Paddy

    Good signing, still awaiting Hightower.

  • Tom Sav

    Like this signing alot!

  • Simon Cutts

    The first move and it’s a receiver. Perfect reasoning as the team is so desperately thin at that position. More offense signings please. (Just testing my irony function)

  • Louis Hensler

    Seems like bad news for Heyward-Bey.

  • Matt Manzo

    I like it! He can compete with Rodgers, Hamilton and Coates. Regardless of what happens with MB, I think there’s a spot for Hunter. A great project for Mann.

  • Iulo

    very nice move… people forget very quickly that PIT has already signed a great WR and for a lot of $$$$!… so you have Brown and you also bring another guy to reconstruct the receiving squad…
    hands free for the Draft to add more quality on the defence

  • Paddy

    Wouldn’t count him out, they love him on special teams

  • Maureen A Gomes

    DHB has a niche on this team. I think his spot is secure.

  • RickM

    Provided all goes well our top 4 receivers will be AB, Bryant, Rogers and Coates. We’re loaded if all goes well in this area. I imagine they hope with a better QB he may do better. And he certainly hasn’t had quality QB’s during his 4-year NFL career.

  • StillersInThe6

    It was reported that the Steelers’ offer was pulled when he left town (whether you believe that or not).

  • Spencer Krick

    Don’t underestimate the power of good coaching plus a good locker room climate.

    A high pedigree WR just trying to make a team, worked out pretty well with DHB.

  • steelersfan

    People forgetting we lost Wheaton too. This may have nothing to do with teams faith in Bryant or Coates. At least as it pertains to their roster spot being safe

  • RickM

    The only positive, and it’s a reach, is the QB’s he’s had. If you asked me to put money down on whether he’d make the team I don’t know which way I would go. He did get 28 catches and almost 500 yards with Tennessee one year. He has a shot I guess. That was with Mettenburger, Locker and Whitehurst splitting the starts…and they’re not much.

  • Petherson Silveira

    Who told you that he already left town?

  • stan

    I like it as another deep threat. Without Bryant and with Coates and DHB’s unreliable hands, we weren’t able to stretch the defense as much as I’d like.

  • Sam Clonch

    Lol, started typing a response, but realized you were probably joking.

  • Joseph Shaw

    With Martavis still a maybe, we can push WR down the draft list and focus on defense one more year–a year when there are quality LBs and DBs galore. Love it.

    Now use the top four picks on defense and let’s turn the corner, start fielding a top-10 defense again.

  • Sam Clonch

    Cause Buffalo obviously knows how to get the most from their players. Why they’re rapidly closing in on 2 straight decades without a playoff appearance.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Not if Godwin falls to us in the second. I’d be ok with that draft pickup.

  • Sam Clonch

    Nah, even if they didn’t care about him as a receiver (which I think they do) DHB is a core special teamer on a team friendly contract. He’ll stick over Ayers or Hamilton, or even Hunter probably.

  • D.j. Hoy

    Completely agree.

  • TV JUMPER

    Omg. We’re gonna win the super bowl. Book it Dan-O.

  • Ryan Alderman

    I do think once he injured those fingers he never recovered. That being said he wasn’t great at catching the ball beforehand, but still he was gaining steam and the all important confidence at the position until the injury bug bit him. It definitely halted his progress right in its tracks.

  • steelersfan

    One year deal . Very low risk

  • Cols714

    He was the 34th pick overall. So he has some talent.

  • Michael James

    Well, I like it. It’s a low risk signing and you get a player that is basically a Coates-clone. Hunter is a bit taller and jumps higher, but they’re quite similar most of the other aspects.

  • Ryan Alderman

    Hahaha.

  • Jon Crissinger

    Yeah. and I know Pitt was giving him a lot of attention prior to the draft

  • Ryan Alderman

    Agreed.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Don’t kid yourself, if he calls, they will answer

  • Ryan Alderman

    Thanks, now I want a chili cheese dog for some reason! 🙂

  • Cols714

    It’s a good depth move. Bryant should be back but if he’s suspended again then we are down to Coates who spent the last 8 games injured and not playing well.

    He’s tall, fast, and was drafted pretty high. At the very least he’s a deep threat on the outside.

  • steeel

    Meanwhile, while wasting time with this signing, we watch Connor Barwin, a truly good pass rush specialist, visit Cinci, and now the Rams. Our pass rush is what needs work. Signing another non-descript WR is a waste of time and wastes money for what we really need. Lame.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Those mangled appendages that used to be Sammie Coates’ hands would beg to differ.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Lol almost lunch time

  • Phil Brenneman II

    True, but the things he lacks aren’t things that just magically appear. You have to work on your own at better hands and getting faster. The route running can be coached or helped by the QB.

    So yeah, if he is willing to put in the time maybe those things improve but it will be more about his individual willingness.

  • RickM

    Jarvis Jones was drafted 17th. Draft position is simply a number in time.

  • alevin16

    Yeah it was just a joke, but it does seem like every year no matter what the Ravens and Patriots get tons of great comp picks (high 3rd rounders).

  • Darth Blount 47

    6’4… 205, runs a 4.4 forty… Not great but okay hands…

    I say, when he gets into town, and starts to head towards Coach Mann’s office, we cut him off and direct him right over to Carnell Lake. Sure, he’ll be confused. But we’ll find out real quick if he’s a team player or not. “Sorry kid, we already got a few of you’s… We need you over here, capisci?”

  • falconsaftey43

    Vet min deal would likely cost them nothing against the cap (rule of 51 and roster displacement). Doesn’t impact their ability to sign anyone.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Steelers normally carry six receivers on the active roster, and roll with five on gameday. IF Martavis Bryant is reinstated, I see these six making the active roster: Brown, Bryant, DHB, Hunter, Coates, Ayers. I think Hamilton ends up the odd man out, but I could see him in competition with Ayers and Coates for odd man out. Gameday inactive is likely Coates or Ayers.

  • AndyR34

    I fully understand that, but…he has carried over the same basic issues that he showed in college and as I said elsewhere, he is another depth player on offense, when we need starters to replace depth players on defense.

  • george

    His pro career has been less than impressive but he hasn’t had a franchise QB throwing to him. His measurables are great though 6’4″ 201 lbs and ran a 4.36 40 pre-draft.

  • Michael Conrad

    I like the signing little risk and maybe some reward. I’m going to wait on Coats but to me he has a ball tracking problem and I’m not sure he will be a starter. MB is well you know its up to him.AB and Rogers are solid so help was needed.I still think if MB situation is unresolved heading into the draft I could still see a WR being drafted.

  • Paddy

    He hasn’t officially left I am hearing, Jets Pats Steelers still in running

  • Darth Blount 47

    BURN!

  • AndyR34

    Preach it!

  • AndyR34

    It does when it’s time to get to 53.

  • AndyR34

    So…Eli doesn’t make the team?

  • StillersInThe6

    He’s not calling. I would put up my house on that.

  • RickM

    Lol. It just doesn’t mean anything after multiple NFL seasons and in some cases multiple teams. It’s an interesting footnote, but nothing more,

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Damn it, I knew I would miss someone, haha. Edited the first post, thank you.

  • StillersInThe6

    Source? I haven’t heard that. Reports yesterday claimed he left.

    I guess it seems like we’re still in running, and that he’s deciding today. But NESN reporting he’s expected to re-sign with Pats (possibly biased source..).

  • triplet99

    Secondary and ILB is an issue

  • RickM

    You already know I agree with you. If you stack up every other team, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the lowest salary for any first FA signing. And our emphasis has to be on the D sde of the ball.

  • popsiclesticks

    They tried to rectify it by giving us a third for Beachum’s 1 year deal, which was essentially what he signed.

  • popsiclesticks

    Yeah I doubt Justin Hunter is going to keep them from drafting say John Ross if he falls and they really like him.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Another #5 WR? and someone who is basically a clone of two other #5 guys already on the roster. Not sure why this was necessary. Sign a guy to try to beat out a player you drafted in the third round two years ago, or DHB one of our best special teams players? I was hoping for a WR that could run more than 3 routes and play all the WR positions, thats what we lost in Wheaton. How many guys do we need that can run a 9 route on 3rd and 2?

    I dont think this move solves any problems at the #2 WR position going into the draft…..but the #5 spot we are now 5 deep at that position.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I actually like Barwin too. But all he would do is be a helpful rotational guy/Harrison speller. Which is good. But I expect we draft at least one, maybe 2 OLB’s anyway. (Probably not if we signed Barwin, that number may fall down to the 1.)

  • popsiclesticks

    He does play slower than his 40 time, but he ran like a 4.3. He’s a smooth strider and actually kinda look’s like a homeless man’s Martavis B. I mean, he’s just a budget WR available in week 2. You can’t expect Terrell Owens.

  • Darth Blount 47

    So you like the move? 🙂

  • Shane Mitchell

    Looks good on paper if we look at size and speed, but 3 of those guys only run 3 routes.

  • popsiclesticks

    I think it’s, hey, this guy looks like he may fit great in our system, he’s available, he’s cheap, why the hell not? We have guys getting hurt every year as it is…no one expected Cobi Hamilton playing a big role last year.

  • WreckIess

    They’ll be fine salary cap wise come September. The signing is pretty inconsequential.

  • popsiclesticks

    Yeah, I think he’s too cheap and dependable to cut.

  • popsiclesticks

    That’s the new hotness in the NFL. Put your big WRs in the slot. I guess the idea is you put Artie Burns types on your Edelmans and Senquez Golson types on your Martavis Bryants.

  • Rocksolid20

    This signing has all the makings of Bryant not being reinstated right away .

  • NinjaMountie

    I’m wondering if they heard some bad news about Bryant. I don’t see the point of the signing otherwise. Maybe just an insurance policy in case.

  • popsiclesticks

    You don’t get starters at this price. I think the idea is to open them up to drafting more defense if they want to.

    And while defense is an issue, I had an issue watching the Steelers in the AFCCG trying to get the ball to ice cold Coates and Cobi Hamilton. One reason Eric Rowe looked good in that game were dropped balls by those guys – heck, Hunter on that same play on the first drive may have dusted him for 6.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I heard the clock on Bryant is ticking. By all accounts, his nose (lungs) is clean. But who knows. I believe I read Goodell has till the end of the month and then he has to decide and inform us.

    So pre-draft, which is nice.

  • Ni mo

    March 28

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    After removing WR as a team need (though obviously keeping an eye out for any tremendous value picks), this is how my latest four-round mock draft ended up:
    30: R1P30 – EDGE DEREK BARNETT – TENNESSEE
    62: R2P30 – CB KEVIN KING – WASHINGTON
    94: R3P30 – EDGE DEREK RIVERS – YOUNGSTOWN STATE
    105: R3P41 – RB KAREEM HUNT – TOLEDO
    135: R4P28 – TE JORDAN LEGGETT – CLEMSON

    I’m pretty happy with that lineup!

  • VinHuddle

    I hope so. For some reason I’ve always pulled for the guy and I have no idea really why.

  • NinjaMountie

    Yeah, he needs to make the decision so the Steelers can make the moves necessary.

  • SilverSteel

    Not me. This serves no purpose at all. See above post. We pass on all of the Defensive FAs which we need, and sign a player at a position already filled. I have stopped trying to make sense of our off season moves. After passing on Ryan, I have given up hope for this year. And it was in our grasp. We may be setup through the draft for the year after, but not this year.

  • SilverSteel

    Thank you…glad someone else sees the light of this bumbling off season.

  • afrazier9

    Yeah it is a good signing, but i think our real issue is the defense inability to play man coverage and put pressure on the QB. I do agree with the article that this means we can focus more on that in the draft. I just hope we put forward some effort on the coaching staff to change there philosiphy about how to play winning defense. I can say one thing the corners last year weren’t noticeably 20 yards off the receiver as much, so that leads me to believe they are using some commonsense

  • Shane Mitchell

    At least we didnt trade a 5th round pick for him.

  • VaDave

    That’s my first thought too.

  • RickM

    I think it’s an innocent signing. MT tends to live in the ‘draft potential’ past with respect to guys like this. If they had received bad news about Bryant, and I don’t think that’s the case, they’d deal with it through the draft.

  • William Weaver

    I think it just shows they have to be ready when/if he gets in trouble again. They can’t trust him.

  • VaDave

    No doubt about that.

  • Brian Miller

    Wonder why we aren’t showing any interest in Zach Brown…

  • Shane Mitchell

    Signing Justin Hunter doesnt remove WR as a team need heading into the draft.

  • Darth Blount 47

    My usual very optimistic attitude has taken quite a hit as well. The one thing I keep hanging my hat on, is maybe, just maybe, in what is a fantastic draft for our given needs, we hit a homerun or 3.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    I disagree. I’m not saying the Steelers don’t end up drafting a WR, or signing a couple UDFAs, but unless a value pick like John Ross falls to them in the first, or Chris Godwin in the second, I can’t see them drafting one in the first three rounds. Too much quality talent at other, more necessary positions.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Good question. He’s out in the Black Hole as we speak.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’ll be pretty darn surprised if Rivers can be gotten at 94. Borderline shocked.

    But if he can be… an early Christmas! 🙂

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    I agree wholeheartedly, I couldn’t believe he was still there. The mock draft I ran used player rankings and team needs updated as of yesterday, so it’s not like it was outdated. I don’t think Rivers is there at 94, but I wasn’t going to pass him up!

  • RickM

    I imagine once Hightower is out of the way, they’ll consider Brown and Hodges. Brown confuses me. He signs a one-year deal with Buffalo and gets 149 tackles and four sacks and they don’t re-sign him. And no one seems interested in him yet. Maybe he’s really bad in coverage. It doesn’t add up with those stats.

    Just checked and he’s a three-down LB. A break-out season and not much interest. Strange. Just reported he’s visiting Oakland.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I still remember how surprised everyone was when his name got read off that early. But then it was the Raiders and Al… and everyone was like “Makes sense.” Mayock was the one who said he was shocked that he went so high. They cut to Michael Crabtree sitting the in the green room, totally expecting to be a Raider, and he shot the camera a dirty look. And now, Crabs is a Raider, ahaha!

  • Shane Mitchell

    I dont think they are looking for a value pick, I think they are looking for a legit #2 WR if Bryant isnt reinstated by the time of the draft or they dont feel they can trust him going forward.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Well, they are Buffalo.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Call me optimistic, but I think Bryant gets reinstated before the regular season, and keeps his nose clean. So I’m confident rolling with six of the WRs we have on our roster and two stashed on the practice squad.

  • RickM

    But what about all the other teams?

  • Michael Pennant

    Red zone targets is what we already have. We need guys that can get open or devise an offensive scheme that gets these guys open. Too often our guys are well covered and have to make plays, while we watch our opponents pick us apart. What are they doing that we aren’t, especially since we have arguably the best WR/RB tandem in the league?

  • Steelking406

    Possibly. I think he gets reinstated here in a couple weeks..
    Following his Instagram acct he does too

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Idk teams don’t seem to be in much of a rush for ILBs (other than hightower of course). I can’t really name anyone else that’s signed besides Timmons.

  • capehouse

    I hope he replaces DHB. Love the guy for special-teams but he’s just not a WR you can count on.

  • twitch.tv/smokerjoesteelers

    I Feel the Steelers need to go heavier on Defense then that. This draft Class is so amazing in regards to talent at D. The Steelers usually like the best player available philosophy and rarely draft to needs at least as far as I can remember. I dont watch college football so I rarely ever cared for the draft until I started watching the combine a few years back. This seems to me to be the draft where the Steelers can not only get the best player available but also get needs. I want to See the Steelers double dip at corner and at linebacker. I want to see them pick up a safety and a TE but I value all the defense picks first because Ben has enough receiving weapons and the Steelers aren’t gonna be losing many if any games because they didnt draft a TE but I can see them losing a slew of games because of their defense holes. I dont want to see them draft any WR any QB a RB only later if the value is there and other needs have been met. The same with the TE.

  • Michael Pennant

    stretch the field is what was missing at times last year because Coated was injured.

  • Steeldog22

    How many receivers are you going to carry?

  • Shane Mitchell

    No inside linebacker or hybrid player for nickel or dime package?

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    There weren’t any available worth drafting at any of these spots where I was drafting.

  • Nolrog

    Why would his path to the 53 be difficult if Bryant is reinstated? He wouldn’t be competing with Bryant for a role, he would be competing with Sammy Coats and whoever is now behind them.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Quality not quantity, if we dont have a #2 WR heading into the season Ben might as well retire.

  • AndyR34

    If he didm’t drop it also. No certainty there, although I would be interested in the difference in drop rates between Hunter, Coates, DHB, Bryant, and Hamilton. I do remember Hamilton making tough and important catches…Coates not so much…even in his good stretch.

    As for defense, I am not asking for starters at this price, but we are woefully short of starters on defense; Deebo and Gay, both of whom I love, would not be starters on any other team with SB aspirations, neither would VW or Cockrell, although they are good depth players. Even Burns and Davis, who showed flashes of what they could become, were not starter material last year, but were thrown into the fire. They never would have started on any previous SB teams. I will say I am optimistic about Bud DuPree who had basically the same statistics in ’16 as he had in ’15, while playing only 1/2 of a season. We can hope (🙏) that Burns and Davis can replicate that in some manner.

  • VinHuddle

    Yeah I remember when he got drafted and a Steeler buddy and I giving each other that, “What the h£ll” look followed by our own version of “And who the H£ll is Mel Kiper anyway.”

  • LucasY59

    makes me a little concerned we will hear bad news about Bryant soon, but I think its a low cost/risk deal so its good to have him on the team regardless (good insurance for whatever happens)

    Bryant, Hunter, Coates and DHB are all fast tall guys, dont know if there is room on the roster for all of them, but let them all come to came and keep the best 2-3

    Justin probably doesnt have the same ST contributions that Sammie and Darius do, so If Bryant is back it could be hard for Hunter to make the team (even if all FA signings usually do, this yrs FA period has been a little different than previous, and since its likely a low dead $/non guaranteed contract they could do something different)

    even if Hunter makes the team I dont have really high expectations, he will be a big fast deep target not much else, his first 4 yrs in the league were just as inconsistent/disappointing as the other guys I have already mentioned (but him being available for cheap already tells you that)

  • LucasY59

    Hunter wont be a ST contributor like DHB and Coates (and that is kind of necessary for the guys at the bottom of the depth chart)

  • WreckIess

    He just had his meeting with the league a couple days ago(should’ve anyway) and he hasn’t met with Goodell yet so I don’t think they would know much about that process yet. I think it’s just about adding talent to a position at this point.

  • Cwallace

    I just hope this signing is not a prelude to negative info on Martavis. The Steelers are a proactive organization and like to get ahead of bad news…i.e. drafting Coates. Good news otherwise.

  • francesco

    So you’re saying he is not signed yet !😃

  • LucasY59

    there isnt even a huge rush for Dont’a if he was as good of a talent as he (or his agent) thinks he is then he shouldnt be available after the first few days

  • francesco

    You’re asking a difficult question!

  • AndyR34

    I will say this…and I really don’t know thinking or facts (do any of us 😃), but if they know that Bryant will be re-instated and that Coates is healed (which they should know by now…even Bryant), this may allow them to totally ignore WR in the draft…even if Mike Williams falls to them and spend top 3-5 choices on 2 Edge rushers and 2-3 DB’s; Obi and 2 CB’s. Although that probably sets us up pretty well for 2018 and beyond, doesn’t really do much for 2017. Yes, we have been over this before, but I can look at the Hunter signing as justified on this basis; otherwise, meh!

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    You don’t think Bryant is a #2?

  • Shane Mitchell

    I hope not, I was just watching some of Martavis’s recent instagram posts of his workouts catching one handed passes off the jugs machine from a foot away.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Mettenberger and Hunter are both here now.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Sounds like the only suitor left for Dont’a is the Pats.

    Mike Silver just reported that he believes the Jets are now “OUT” on the Hightower sweepstakes. Essentially saying the word from the Jets is that this whole thing was a charade.

    Which seems to confirm what most were thinking all along. Basically, a spy mission for Dont’a. Go to the Jets and Steelers and make them waste time and collect as much info as you can. Honestly, the Pats are the most devious and unscrupulous franchise I can EVER recall. I loathe them on the exact same level as I do any team in the AFC North. If not now, more. Saying something – when you can make the Bungles and Ratbirds look like choir boys.

  • RickM

    I actually thought the same way. There will simply be too big a glut at WR if Bryant is re-instated and Coates appears healthy. Maybe, some chance, they might take a WR very late in the draft. But the first ‘receiver’ taken will likely be a TE who can go down the field.

  • WreckIess

    Hightower signed back with New England.

  • AndyR34

    Lombardi #7 is now assured! LOL!

  • LucasY59

    not outdated just inaccurate

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Players slide in the draft all the time, don’t act like you know where everyone is going to be drafted. I just ran the same mock and Rivers was off the board in the bottom half of the second round. So weird stuff just happens sometimes.

  • Bryant Eng

    I still think Coates has shown more, when healthy, than Hunter has in his career, but this move at least signifies the Steelers may not have to draft a WR early in the draft. The Hightower visit indicates they might be high on filling an ILB need that no one is mocking. Could the Steelers draft Raekwon McMillan or R. Foster from Alabama in the first or second round? Would this surprise anyone now?

  • John Hinton

    Smart business move by the FO.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    If Foster is there at 30, I think they will run to the podium and take him. I don’t think that happens, but you never know. I have been saying since Timmons went to Miami, that I could see us repeating the Timmons/Woodley draft. ILB in 1 and OLB in 2.

  • PaeperCup

    NOW we are going to get to the Superbowl.

  • Mike Lloyd

    The Steelers must’ve known something from their conversations with him. This was him trying to extract some extra cash from NE, nothing more nothing less…
    When Belicheck cuts him for good in 2 or 3 years, just stay away…and; that’ll happen.

  • Donte Williams

    did he for how much?

  • This could be a good signing–and maybe a very good one. Hunter’s speed/hands/height combination–if he can mesh with Ben–might be the deep threat we needed so much last year [after Coates broke his fingers] to force defenses to play AB marginally straight. According to a long term Bills fan, the following appears to be his worst drawback: [posted on NBC’s ProFootballTalk early today]

    “In 28 years of having Bills season tickets, I never noticed a WR on any team give up on plays, and not fight to get open for a QB, once the o-line protection broke down, like Hunter would. Taylor would scramble for his life and Hunter basically went into jog mode.

    “There is a reason this God gifted talent has been on 4 teams in 7 months. Waste of a guy being 6-4 and being able to run a 4.4 forty. Good luck to him in Pittsburgh.”

    Surely this is a coachable flaw that can be easily corrected if he’s got a fire for the game. I wonder whether anyone has noticed this tendency in Hunter’s game tapes…or if his previous teams complained of it?

  • Bryant Eng

    Interesting take. I think Foster might be there if a few QB’s sneak into the first round. Trubisky, Watson, etc. Also, inevitably, more OL will go in the first than mocked, due to need (at least in my opinion). Would you like this draft? 1. Foster, 2. Derek Rivers, 3a. Cameron Sutton (CB TN) 3b. Semaji Perine (RB OK)?

  • LucasY59

    I dont want to think bad about him, but im pretty pissed at him right now WASTE OF TIME! and from what I have seen his agent mightve been the bigger problem (no surprise there) what a joke to think he could actually win a negotiation, he had a small chance to get extra $ out of the Jets, but I am positive he only lost leverage by trying to get more from the pats and Steelers, and then he pissed off the Jets (so he lost $)

  • LucasY59

    even you said you couldnt believe it, if everyone feels the same way, its wrong (but I agree there are always some surprises) I think the sims mechanics/team needs can be off a lot as well

  • Donte Williams

    sub cameron out for either Chdi Kevin White, Kazee Lewis or Jones then yes and might even sub perine out for Gallman or mack if you taken him 3B

  • srdan

    I just hope that it isn’t a move that is more than just “insurance”. The last couple years they have made moves that were headscratchers at the time, but hindsight should have been indicators into what is going on. Like the DHB contract last year.

    Although with Wheaton walking, I feel somewhat good about Martavis and Coates coming back. They would have made at least an attempt at wheaton.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Definitely, that’d be a no-brainer. Unfortunately I seriously doubt he’ll drop that far.

  • Ryan Alderman

    Hightower sign says with Pats, 19 mill guaranteed.

  • gdeuce

    4-year, $43.5M with $19M guaranteed

  • Paddy

    He signed for 10.1 million per

  • ATL96STEELER

    What you say is true in part…IMO the Steelers do have one of the best WR/RB tandems in the league…and you would think Green (can’t stay on the field), Jesse James (inconsistent, lacks separation skill vs man) Coates (inconsistent) would be great RZ targets, but they’re not.

    Hunter is not really a great RZ player imo…what he does bring is the deep threat ability that Bryant gave them which you know opens up the underneath for AB, Bell and Rogers. He’s competition for that job basically…I like the move because it sends Hamilton and Coates a signal that they are not safe #1, and #2 some level of insurance in case Bryant is not re-stated or if he slips again.

  • PaeperCup

    Brown, Bryant, Hunter, Rogers, Coates. I can live with that. I wouldn’t mind getting one of those white guys in the draft. Switzer or Trent Taylor

  • heath miller

    my guess is they sniff bad news on bryant being reinstated

  • PaeperCup

    I always thought M Bryant looked like a homeless man himself.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Came out of TN early I thought he was going to be a stud by his 2nd or 3rd yr. Wasn’t quite ready for the pro game coming in, and had some so so if not outright bad QB play his whole career. So…he never really developed as a top tier WR.

    If Ben clicks with him he could be a real find…still has the speed to go with his size…I like this signing.

  • PaeperCup

    I am hoping so. Too many pass catching TEs in this class to pass up. That’s getting to be a crowded position though with Johnson signing on.

  • PaeperCup

    Why wouldn’t he be re-instated if he’s been clean? Is this really just a judgement call by Goodell?

  • Jim Foles

    Coates was not out running many DB’s

  • Shane Mitchell

    Yes, but he isnt on the roster and we dont know if he will be on the team next year or not.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    I understand your trepidation, which is why I said this would be the lineup IF Bryant is reinstated (which I think he will be). But he will be on the roster next season if he gets reinstated at any point this year.

  • will

    “We” (The Steelers defense) are playing zone coverage with little to no pass rush.

  • will

    Agree!!

  • will

    What does “like a 4.3” mean? 4.25, 4.29, 4.3,4.34,4.38???

  • will

    Good assumption

  • SeventhHeavan

    If Bryant comes back, Hunter will probably be fighting for the 5th and final spot with Hey Bey.
    The lineup will probably look like this..

    1)AB
    2)MB
    3)Sammie
    4)Eli
    5) DHB/Hunter

  • will

    google “how hot dogs are made” and I would guess that you would not eat another.

  • Jason

    That’s putting a lot of unwarranted faith in Coates.

  • SeventhHeavan

    Yeah I hear ya. I like the kid and have faith in him. Lot of potential. Now that his broken fingers are healed, I expect him to produce in a big way as he was starting to before he was injured…we’ll see

  • Nolrog

    Hightower signed with New England.

  • Nolrog

    With New England.

  • Nolrog

    Shane is right. Signing Hunter doesn’t remove WR as a team need. Bryant will be here one more year (if we’re lucky). Coates has shown too much Limas Sweed in him. They still need a #2

  • Ryan Alderman

    I’d rather not.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    First of all, Bryant is around two more years. Because of his suspension last year, he didn’t accrue a service year, so still has two years on the books for his contract.

    Secondly, I STILL don’t think WR is a high need even without Bryant, and Hunter’s signing further bolsters my confidence in that statement. Yes, Coates had a rough second half of last season, but between him and the rest of our young receiving corps, I think we have a #2 in there somewhere.

    Again, if the Steelers can find good value at the top of the draft for a WR, then I’m fine with them going in that direction. But don’t you agree that defense is a more pressing need, and the talent is WAY more bang-for-your-buck at the top of the draft with defensive players?

  • J.

    Sorry but not impressed by our big free agent signing. It makes me wonder if the Steelers don’t expect Bryant to be cleared to play.

  • Brian Miller

    Good points Rick..

  • RickM

    You’re right. Coates had over 400 yards in his first 5 games while healthy which was in line with a 1,300 yard season. And his biggest game was his last healthy one with 11 catches. You don’t do that by accident. It all comes down to health.

  • Rinell Vincent

    Honestly, becuase the Steelers can’t ever put their pride (game plan) aside and adjust to what the other team is doing. Year after year the Steelers have been built on zone coverage to prevent the big play in hopes the pass rush gets home. Well it hasn’t recently. Throw in some press man coverages (throw off the timing) once in a while and they MIGHT have a chance to beat the pats. Without Brady will just continue to pick them apart. Surprised more teams don’t do the same. Sorry for rant!

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Murphy’s Law

  • Darth Blount 47

    I don’t know, turns out, if the Jets offer is true, they offered more cash than the Pats. Something stinks about this whole thing. A couple of days ago, the Jets first let it slip that they were pretty sure this was a game. Not a legitimate negotiation. He was effin’ with both the Jets and Us. For what reason, your guess is as good as mine. But I think it stinks, personally.

  • NinjaMountie

    Maybe he has failed one and it hasn’t been reported yet……..yikes. lol

  • John

    I thought this guy was going to be good when he came from college. There was some promise with the Titans. No idea what happened after. Let’s hope.

  • PaeperCup

    EEEK!

  • Josh

    yes please

  • SouthernSteel

    Good…thinking this is the end for Hamilton. …still sick to my stomach when I think about him going out of the end zone and also dropping an easy TD against NE…could have been a different game..

  • Conserv_58

    He didn’t fail another test. It comes down to the fact that Martavis’ reinstatement lies in Goodell’s hands, only and heir, Goodell can take all the time he wants to make his decision.

  • SilverSteel

    Darth, I do believe we will hit a homerun in the draft but will rookies take us to the promise land this year? It will take a year to gel or at the very least take half a season. If the latter is the case, we don’t get the home field or bye because of our record while waiting on the rooks.

    If we have to play on the road in the POs, our chances are pretty slim with a rebuilding defense. But hey, I am still looking forward to the season, but not ecstatic like I was two weeks ago. I would have been doing backflips if we signed Ryan. That was a really good match for 10 Mil. What a smart move that would have been. This WR signing is no consolation prize to say the least.

  • Taylor Williams

    DHB is a

  • will

    understand

  • Darth Blount 47

    Yeah, you know you’re preaching to the choir as it pertains to Ryan. Would of been a great match. But I’ll play a little Devils’ advocate and talk you back from the ledge, slightly. I too, would have hoped that we would have made at least one true impact signing. But all is not lost. We did have a lot of success last year, and that was WITH the 3 rooks on D and without Bryant and also starting without Bell. I really like the way our D was supplemented with those 3 guys, and they should be even better this year.

    Who is to say we won’t draft a rook or two this time, who we can plug right in? I think Reddick is a plug and play guy. Likely Obi too. And there are others. Point is, the Offense will once again be our strongest side, yes. But the D is coming along nicely. Heyward will be back providing his excellent play and leadership. And I want to wait for the draft before I assume that we have a bunch of projects that won’t or can’t help/contribute. The days of drafting guys and having them ride the pines for 2 and 3 years is basically over. That seems to only happen anymore if their are injuries or a glut of talent in front.

    Speaking of injuries, getting something out of Golson this year could and would be a real blessing. It will kind like having 9 draft picks. And yes, I know that was the line used last year as well. But maybe he can avoid that darn snake that keeps biting him. All in all, I take real comfort in knowing that we are very likely to win our division this year. I personally think we are now head and shoulders above the other 3 teams. And assuming we do, we’ll guarantee ourselves at least 1 home playoff game.

    Lastly, and here’s the kicker, as we sit here today, even though I just practically penciled us in for the division and the playoffs, there is NOTHING saying that even though they look like studs once again, that New England WILL dominate yet again. I know it’s asking a bunch, but maybe, just maybe, this IS the year that either Brady falls off just enough, OR he suffers an injury. I’m not wishing that on anyone because of karma, but it is a possibility. They need as much to go right as we do. The season is long and treacherous. And we get them in our house during the regular season this year. So we’ll be able to properly measure ourselves against them during the season, hopefully this time with Ben under center.
    So I say, yeah, this off-season has been frustrating, and I’m not Pollyanna, but I DO think we are still a strong club, in a weakened division, and who is going into a draft pick some solid picks, that is beautifully Defensive heavy. Let’s see how we look after that.

  • SilverSteel

    Ok, I feel better now. 🙂 Leave it to the Darthman

  • Paul Boore

    Absolutely right! We need COACHES that know how to work a man-to-man defense! Playing zone is like guaranteeing someone like Brad to cut you up and spit you out…oh, yeh, like he did twice last season… Get on with the defense picks already!!