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Roster Recap: Free agent list, latest moves

Posted Jan 22, 2018

With the offseason underway, it's time to see what is happening with the roster.

The end of the season normally means roster activity for teams, and the Steelers were no different.

A lot has happened, including learning who will be free agents, so this is a chance to catch up.

The team’s unrestricted free agents include: Le’Veon Bell, Arthur Moats, Chris Hubbard, Justin Hunter, Daniel McCullers, Stevan Ridley and Sean Spence.

The restricted free agents are Jordan Berry, Chris Boswell, Anthony Chickillo, Greg Ducre, Roosevelt Nix, Eli Rogers and Fitzgerald Toussaint.

The team also still has three exclusive rights free agents remaining in B.J. Finney, Matt Feiler and Mike Matthews.

Three players who would have become exclusive rights free agents were signed to contract extensions before that occurred. Signing one-year extensions were long snapper Kameron Canaday, tight end Xavier Grimble and cornerback Mike Hilton.

Canaday won the job as the long snapper in training camp, beating out sixth-round draft pick Colin Holba. Canaday handled all of the long snapping duties this season, and was a steady force for Chris Boswell, who set team records with 35 field goals and 142 points.

Grimble played in 15 games this season, starting two. He had five receptions for 32 yards, and a touchdown. Grimble has played in 28 games in his career with 16 receptions and three touchdowns.

Hilton emerged this season as a force for the defense, a corner with an incredible ability to blitz. Hilton had four sacks this season, including three against the Houston Texans, the only defensive back in the NFL to record three sacks in a game this season. Hilton was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for that performance, and became only the third defensive back to have a three-sack game in team history, joining Troy Polamalu and Carnell Lake. Hilton, who started four of the 16 games he played in, finished with 54 tackles, two interceptions, six pass defenses, and a forced fumble.

The Steelers also signed 12 players to reserve/future contracts, nine of them players who spent time on the team’s practice squad this year.

A reserve/future contract can only be given to a player who was not on any team’s active roster at the end of the 2017 season. A player who was on a practice squad, and his practice squad contract expired one week after his season ended, or a veteran who wasn’t with another team at the end of the season, can be signed to a reserve/future contract. These contracts can only be signed during the period beginning the day after the conclusion of the final regular season weekend and ending with the Super Bowl.

A look at what has happened since the season ended:

Kameron Canaday – Signed a one-year contract extension.

Jordan Dangerfield - Signed to a reserve/future contract. Dangerfield was waived/injured prior to the start of the 2017 season, but signed to the practice squad in Oct. Dangerfield made the 53-man roster in 2016, playing in 14 games and starting two. He finished the season with 16 tackles. Dangerfield spent time during the 2014 and 2015 seasons on the Steelers practice squad.

Matt Galambos – Signed to a reserve/future contract. Was originally signed after he came to rookie camp this year on a tryout basis. Was released on the final roster cut, and signed back to the practice squad. Was later released from the practice squad, brought back, but got injured and finished out the season on the injured reserve list.

Malik Golden – Signed to a reserve/future contract. The former Penn State standout was originally signed by the Steelers last July, but released prior to the start of the 2017 season. Was signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie free agent in May, 2017, but released before training camp.

Xavier Grimble – Signed a one-year contract extension.

Mike Hilton – Signed a one-year contract extension.

Lavon Hooks – Signed to a reserve/future contract. Originally signed by the team last February, but was released before the start of the season. Spent the 2017 season on the team’s practice squad. Prior to joining the Steelers he spent time with the Green Bay Packers.

Farrington Huguenin – Signed to a reserve/future contract, the second straight year that he was signed to one by the Steelers. Spent the 2017 season on the team’s practice squad. He entered the NFL as a rookie free agent in 2016, signing with the Miami Dolphins, but was released before that season began.

Keith Kelsey - Signed to a reserve/future contract. Joined the Steelers an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2017 NFL Draft. Was released prior to the start of the season, but was brought back to the practice squad.

Darnell Leslie – Signed to a reserve/future contract. Originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie free agent in 2017 after coming in on a tryout during their rookie minicamp.

Jake McGee – Signed to a reserve/future contract. McGee was originally signed by the team on Aug. 2 and spent the entire season on the practice squad. He was on the Chargers practice squad in 2016, and also spent time with the Raiders and Panthers in the 2016 offseason.

Dashaun Phillips – Signed to a reserve/future contract. Phillips was acquired by the Steelers via a trade with the Washington Redskins on Aug. 23, after he spent his first two seasons with them. Was released on the final roster cut, and signed back to the practice squad where he spent the season.

Justin Thomas – Signed to a reserve/future contract. Originally signed with the Steelers on Aug. 23, but released on the final roster cut. Spent time on and off the practice squad throughout the 2017 season.

Marcus Tucker – Signed to a reserve/future contract. He signed with the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2016, was released before the season started, and brought back to the practice squad later that season. Was signed to a Reserve/Future contract last season as well. He spent the 2017 season on the team’s practice squad.

Matt Wile – Signed to a reserve/future contract. Originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Carolina Panthers in 2015. Spent time with the Arizona Cardinals (2016) where he punted 10 times for a 37.5-yard net average, and Atlanta Falcons (2016) where he punted twice for a 52-yard net average.