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Roster Recap: A lot has changed

Posted Sep 5, 2017

The moves have been plentiful for the Steelers, so here is your chance to catch up.

If you blinked over the past week or two, it’s likely you might have missed one of the many moves the Steelers made.

Fear not, though. My eyes and ears were wide open and I have you covered from top to bottom on what went down.

A look back:

August 23: The moves started when the Steelers signed wide receiver Justin Thomas. The undrafted rookie impressed the New Orleans Saints during a tryout, and they signed him after their rookie minicamp. He was later released by the Saints, and signed by the Rams. The Rams released him and the Steelers signed him. Thomas was waived when the Steelers cut the roster to 53-players, but he was signed back to the practice squad. The Steelers also waived/injured third-year cornerback Greg Ducre and running back Brandon Brown-Dukes. The team also signed cornerback Antonio Crawford, who was waived/injured the next day.

The Steelers completed what was a busy day of transactions when they traded for Washington Redskins cornerback Dashaun Phillips in exchange for center Lucas Crowley. Phillips played in five games for the Redskins in 2016, starting two, in the nickel role. He had seven tackles and a fumble recovery. He has played in 11 games, with 14 tackles, nine of them solo stops, in two seasons. Phillips was also waived when the Steelers cut the roster to 53-players, but he was also signed back to the practice squad.

August 25: Signed center Ruben Carter, who was released on Sept. 2 when the roster was trimmed to 53 players.

August 29: The Steelers traded with the San Francisco 49ers for tight end Vance McDonald. The Steelers traded their fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft in exchange for McDonald and the 49ers fifth-round pick in 2018. McDonald, the 49ers second-round draft pick in 2013, started all 11games he played in 2016 and finished the season with 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns. He has 64 career receptions for 866 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Steelers also placed linebacker Keion Adams on the team’s reserve/injured list and released defensive end Christian Brown and tight end Phazahn Odom.

August 30: Cornerback Joe Haden, who was released by the Cleveland Browns, was signed to a three-year contract. He is a former No. 1 pick, selected by the Browns with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2013 and 2014, including serving as a Pro Bowl captain in 2014. Haden has 19 career interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown. He has played in 90 career games for the Browns in his first seven seasons, starting 81, and had 369 tackles, 298 of them solo stops, adding 101 pass defenses, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two sacks.

September 2: The day began with the team trading wide receiver Sammie Coates to the Cleveland Browns. In addition to Coates, the Browns receive the Steelers seventh-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Steelers received the Browns sixth-round draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Not long after there was another trade. The team sent cornerback Ross Cockrell to the New York Giants in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

To get to the mandatory 53-man roster the Steelers waived the following players: wide receiver Demarcus Ayers, center Ruben Carter, offensive lineman Ethan Cooper, running back Knile Davis, cornerback Brandon Dixon, center Kyle Friend, linebacker Matt Galambos, linebacker Austin Gearing, safety Malik Golden (waived/injured), cornerback Senquez Golson, safety Jacob Hagen, wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, long snapper Colin Holba, defensive end Lavon Hooks, quarterback Bart Houston, linebacker Farrington Huguenin, tight end David Johnson, linebacker Steven Johnson, defensive end Francis Kallon, linebacker Keith Kelsey, defensive end Johnny Maxey, tight end Jake McGee, offensive tackle Brian Mihalik, offensive lineman Keavon Milton, cornerback Dashaun Phillips, defensive tackle Roy Philon, offensive tackle Jake Rodgers, cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, wide receiver Justin Thomas, running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, wide receiver Marcus Tucker, safety Terrish Webb and running back Trey Williams.

September 3: Just a day after the Steelers announced their 53-man roster, it has already changed. The team traded for safety J.J. Wilcox, from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and will also receive Tampa’s seventh-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Steelers gave the Buccaneers their sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.  Wilcox spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. In his four seasons he had 158 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles, 15 pass defenses and recorded a safety. 

The team added 10 players to their practice squad.  On offense the Steelers added center Kyle Friend, tight end Jake McGee, wide receiver Justin Thomas, running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and wide receiver Marcus Tucker.  Defensively the team brought back linebacker Matt Galambos, safety Jacob Hagen, defensive end Lavon Hooks, linebacker Farrington Huguenin and cornerback Dashaun Phillips. Take a closer look at the practice squad.

September 4: Labor Day kicked off with running back Le’Veon Bell signing his franchise tender. “I am happy to be here,” Bell said after his first practice. “It felt good to go out there to practice, be with my teammates. I am ready to get ready for the season, get ready for the Super Bowl. I want as many carries as I need for us to win games. The biggest thing for me is we win, that is all that matters to me.”

In another move the team signed linebacker Steven Johnson, and placed rookie cornerback Cameron Sutton on the reserve/injured list. Johnson was waived when the Steelers made the mandatory cut to their 53-man roster on Sept. 2. The team also waived/injured safety Jordan Dangerfield. Dangerfield played in 14 games last season, starting two, and finished with 16 tackles and six special teams tackles.