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Roster Recap: Free agency update

It's the time of year when NFL rosters go through significant changes and the Steelers are among the teams that have made a large number of moves.

Since March 8, the team has either re-signed or signed a slew of players, in addition to making several other moves. 

The most up to date moves are below to help you follow all the action.

Linebacker Marcus Allen – Signed a one-year contract
Marcus Allen made the switch to linebacker in 2020 and played in 14 games, starting two and missing two due to injuries. He finished with 24 tackles, including 16 solo stops, two for a loss and two quarterback hits. He also added six special teams tackles. He made his first NFL start against Buffalo on Dec. 13, finishing the game with a career-high eight tackles, five of them solo stops, and one tackle for a loss. Allen was drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the 148th pick overall, but played in only three games in his first two seasons.

Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu – Signed a two-year contract
Tyson Alualu, possibly one of the most underrated players on the defense, played in 15 games in 2020, starting 10, and missed one game with a knee injury. He finished the season with 38 tackles, two sacks, five pass defenses and a forced fumble. Alualu, a former No. 1 pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars who joined the Steelers in 2017 as an unrestricted free agent, took over Javon Hargrave's nose tackle spot in 2020 after Hargrave left via free agency. Since joining the Steelers, Alualu has played in 62 games, starting 22, and has recorded 140 tackles, 15 quarterback hits, 15 tackles for a loss, eight pass defenses, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. He has started 109 of the 172 career games he has played in, has 397 tackles, 66 quarterback hits, 45 tackles for a loss, 24.5 sacks 14 pass defenses, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Take a look at photographs of Steelers DE Tyson Alualu from the 2020 season

Running back Kalen Ballage – Signed a one-year contract
Kalen Ballage enters his fourth season in the NFL after being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Arizona State. He has played in 35 games in his career, with eight starts, and has 201 carries for 629 yards and seven touchdowns. He also has 52 receptions for 285 yards. Ballage spent two seasons with the Dolphins before signing with the New York Jets in 2020. He was with the Jets for only a portion of the season, and eventually signed with the San Diego Chargers where he rushed for 290 yards and three touchdowns.

Offensive tackle Zach Banner – Signed a two-year contract
Zach Banner won the starting right tackle spot in 2020, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season opener against the New York Giants, missing the remainder of the season. Banner, who signed a one-year contract heading into the 2020 season, was originally drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the 137th overall. He was released by the Colts in 2017, and signed with the Cleveland Browns, playing in eight games in 2017.He signed with the Steelers as a free agent in 2018 and was inactive all season. In 2019 a lot changed for him when he played in 14 games, starting one. He became a cult hero with the 'No. 72 has reported as an eligible receiver' announcement on a regular basis during the season, but set his goal to become a starter, a role he earned before his injury.

Punter Jordan Berry – Signed a one-year contract
The Steelers re-signed punter Jordan Berry, who played in 11 games in 2020, to a one-year contract. Berry punted in 11 games in 2020, with 57 punts for 2,609 yards, an average of 45.8 yards and a net average of 40.5 yards. Berry had 23 punts inside the 20-yard line and three touchbacks. He also had three punts in the AFC Wild Card game against Cleveland. Berry has punted 385 times for the black and gold and has an average of 44.4 and a net average of 39.9. In his six seasons he has landed 154 punts inside the 20-yard line and with 18 touchbacks. Berry was originally signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft out of Eastern Kentucky.

Take a look at photographs of Steelers P Jordan Berry from the 2020 season

Offensive lineman Rashaad Coward – Signed a one-year contract
Rashaad Coward spent the last four years with the Chicago Bears, joining them as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2017 NFL Draft out of Old Dominion. Coward has played in 30 career games, starting 15, playing mainly at guard, but also has seen some work at tackle. Over the past two years he played in 29 games, starting 10 in 2019 and five in 2020. He started 11 games at right guard, three at left guard and one at right tackle. Coward spent the majority of his rookie season and all of the 2018 season on the practice squad, after switching from defensive to offensive line in his second year.

Offensive lineman B.J. Finney – signed a one-year contract
B.J. Finney left the Steelers during free agency in 2020, signing with the Seattle Seahawks. He played in six games for the Seahawks last season, before being traded to the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 28. Finney played in just one game for the Bengals following the trade. The Bengals released Finney on March 5. Finney has played in 66 games in his career, the majority during his first four seasons with the Steelers. While in the black and gold, he started 13 of the 59 games he played in and his versatility has been a huge key, playing both center and guard.

Offensive tackle Joe Haeg – Signed a two-year contract
Joe Haeg spent the 2020 season with the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played in 12 games in 2020, starting three. Haeg was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round (155th overall pick) of the 2016 NFL Draft out of North Dakota State. He has played in 67 career games with 38 starts. As a rookie in 2016, Haeg started 14 of the 15 games he played in, playing three different positions. The Colts offense tied for fifth in the NFL in passing yards per game, seventh in points scored and 10th in yards per game. 

Center J.C. Hassenauer – Signed a one-year contract
J.C. Hassenauer played in 15 games in 2020, starting four. He made his first NFL start against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12, filling in for recently retired Maurkice Pouncey who was placed on the COVID-19 List on game day. Hassenauer also started the following week against the Washington Football Team. In Week 15 Hassenauer stepped in and started at left guard, and started at center Week 17, when Pouncey was rested. Hassenauer originally joined the Steelers in 2019 and spent time that season on the team's active roster and practice squad. Hassenauer, who played for the Birmingham Iron of the AAF, signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2018 NFL Draft. He was released by the Falcons prior to the start of the regular season but was added to the practice squad where he spent part of the season.

Take a look at photographs of Steelers C J.C. Hassenauer from the 2020 season

Linebacker Jamir Jones - SignedJamir Jones, the younger brother of outside linebacker Jarron Jones, was signed by the Houston Texans as a rookie free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft. He was later waived prior to the start of the regular season. Jones played college football at Notre Dame where he appeared in 55 games during his four seasons. In 2019 he played in 11 games, finishing with 50 tackles, seven and a half for a loss, four and a half sacks. He also had two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.**

Linebacker Miles Killebrew** – Signed a one-year contract
Miles Killebrew was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Southern Utah. He has played in 78 games in his four seasons, starting four. Killebrew has 56 career tackles, six pass defenses and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown in 2017, and one forced fumble. He was a special teams ace for the Lions during his time there, making big contributions on their coverage units. He had a blocked punt in 2020.

Defensive end Cassius Marsh – Signed a one-year contract
Cassius Marsh originally signed with the Steelers late in the 2020 season. Marsh played in just two games for the Steelers, including the Colts game in Week 16 when he had two tackles. He also played in the AFC Wild Card game against the Browns, recording two tackles. Marsh was signed off the Colts practice squad on Dec. 9. He has played in 92 games in his NFL career, starting nine, and has 158 tackles, 25 for a loss, 14 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Marsh has started nine games during his NFL career and is now with his seventh team including the Indianapolis Colts (2020), Jacksonville Jaguars (2020), Arizona Cardinals (2019), San Francisco 49ers (2017-18), New England Patriots (2017) and Seattle Seahawks (2014-16).

Take a look at photographs of Steelers LB Cassius Marsh from the 2020 season

Receiver Ray-Ray McCloud – Signed a one-year contract
Ray-Ray McCloud played in all 16 regular season games in 2020, as well as the AFC Wild Card game against the Browns. McCloud made his impact felt by handling the vast majority of the punt and kickoff returns all season. He handled 37 punt returns, 22 of them fair catches, with 356 return yards, a 9.6-yard average and a long of 57 yards. He also returned 28 kickoffs for 646 yards, a 23.1-yard average, and a long of 49 yards. On offense, McCloud added 20 receptions for 77 yards, a 3.9-yard average, and four carries for 65 yards, including a 58-yarder. McCloud was originally drafted by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the 187th player overall selected. He began his career with the Bills but was waived on the final roster cut before the 2019 season and claimed by the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers released him during the season, and he was signed to the Bills practice squad not long after. In the two seasons before joining the Steelers, McCloud played in 16 games with five receptions for 36 yards, for 25 receptions for 113 yards in his career. He also had 14 punt returns for 102 yards and nine kickoff returns for 192 yards before arriving in Pittsburgh.

Take a look at photographs of Steelers RB Ray-Ray McCloud from the 2020 season

Linebacker Jarvis Miller – Signed
Jarvis Miller spent four years (2015-18) at Penn State before playing at the University of Massachusetts as a graduate student in 2019. He played in 12 games in 2019 at UMass, starting 11, and was fourth on the team with 60 tackles. He also had 4.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and a quarterback hurry. While at Penn State he played in 33 games from 2016-18, after red-shirting his freshman year. He finished with 23 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack, one pass defense and a fumble recovery. Miller, who wasn't drafted in 2020, finished his college career with 83 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger – Signed a new contract for 2021
One of the hottest topics of the offseason was the future of Ben Roethlisberger, and he signed a new contract for him to be back in black and gold in 2021. Roethlisberger, who has played in a Steelers record 233 games and started a record 231, came back strong in 2020 after missing the majority of the 2019 season with an elbow injury. He completed 399 of 608 passes in 2020, tied for the second-most pass attempts in his career, for 3,803 yards, 33 touchdowns, second-most in his career, 10 interceptions and a career-low 13 sacks (not counting 2019 when he played in only two games).

For his career, Roethlisberger has completed 5,050 of 7,838 passes (64.4%) for 60,348 yards (7th most in NFL history), 396 touchdowns and a 94.0 quarterback rating. In 14 of his 17 seasons, he has thrown for at least 3,000 yards, including doing it 13 straight seasons from 2006-18, interrupted only by his injury in 2019 that forced him to miss the majority of the season. He also threw for at least 3,500 yards in six consecutive seasons, the longest streak in team history.

Take a look at photographs of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger from the 2020 season

Receiver JuJu Smith Schuster – Signed a one-year contract
In his first four seasons, JuJu Smith-Schuster has 308 career receptions for 3,726 yards and 26 touchdowns, bringing energy and explosiveness to the offense. In 2020, Smith-Schuster had 97 receptions for 831 yards and nine touchdowns. Smith-Schuster was voted the team's 2018 Most Valuable Player, earning the honor in just his second season in the league and also played in his first Pro Bowl. He finished that season second in the AFC and tied for sixth in the NFL with 111 receptions for 1,426 yards, which was third in the AFC and fifth in the NFL and were both career highs. Smith-Schuster was fifth in the AFC and 12th in the NFL with 1,439 yards from scrimmage. Smith-Schuster registered his 150th career reception in his 28th career game, coming during the 2018 season. It set a franchise record for the fewest games to the milestone, and he reached the 1,500-receiving yard mark in his 21st career game to establish a new team record. The Steelers second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Smith-Schuster finished his first season with 58 receptions for 917 yards and seven receiving touchdowns while winning the Joe Greene Great Performance Award for the Steelers Rookie of the Year.

Take a look at photographs of Steelers WR Juju Smith-Schuster from the 2020 season

Receiver Matthew Sexton – Signed
Sexton, who went undrafted in 2020, finished his college career at Eastern Michigan with 100 receptions for 1,135 yards, a 14.2-yard average, and nine touchdowns in 43 games. Last year he played in The Spring League for the Aviators, who made it to the championship game. He played both receiver and as a returner, with a walk-off punt return for a touchdown in Week 2 and returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown in Week 3. He had his best college season in 2019 when he caught 34 passes for 508 yards and four touchdowns, while in 2018 he had 37 receptions for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Sexton, who took part in Eastern Michigan's pro day this year, also contributed on special teams. He had 26 special teams tackles in his career and also returned kickoffs and punts. In 2017 he had 14 special teams tackles while returning 18 kickoffs for 312 yards, a 17.3-yard average. He has only two career punt returns, including one for a touchdown in 2019.

Receiver Tyler Simmons – Signed a one-year contract
Tyler Simmons, who played at the University of Georgia, signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft. He was signed to the Texans practice squad to start the 2020 season but was released a few weeks later. Simmons played four seasons at Georgia with 35 receptions for 438 yards (12.5-yard average) and three touchdowns. He also added 17 carries for 220 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he returned punts his senior season, with nine for 143 yards, averaging 15.9 yards, with a long of 42 yards.

Linebacker Robert Spillane – Signed a one-year contract
Robert Spillane stepped up in 2020 when the linebacker position was hit with injuries, stepping in for former No. 1 pick Devin Bush after he was placed on the Reserve/Injured List. Spillane played in 12 games, starting seven, before an injury landed him on the Reserve/Injured List for the last four weeks of the regular season, before being activated for the AFC Wild Card game. He finished the season with 43 tackles, 37 of them solo stops, two sacks, four tackles for a loss, four pass defenses, three quarterback hits and an interception and fumble recovery. He has his best game in a Week 9 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Spillane had his first career interception, picking off Lamar Jackson and returning it 33 yards for a touchdown. He also had a career-high 11 tackles, 10 of them solo stops, forced a fumble and had two pass breakups. Spillane was originally signed by the Tennessee Titans after a tryout during their rookie minicamp in 2018 and then added to the Titans practice squad at the start of the 2018 season. He was activated in season and played in two games for the Titans in 2018, however he was released midseason. He signed with the Steelers in the 2019 offseason, released before the season started, but brought back to the practice squad. He was activated midway through the 2019 season.

Cornerback Cameron Sutton – Signed a two-year contract
Cameron Sutton stepped up big in 2020, playing in all 16 games and starting six. He had a streak where he had a forced fumble in three straight games, including Week 8 at Baltimore, Week 9 at Dallas and Week 10 vs. Cincinnati. Sutton finished the 2020 season with 29 tackles, 26 of them solo stops, eight pass defenses, three forced fumbles and a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery. In four seasons he has played in 52 games, starting eight, with 72 tackles, 63 solo stops, two sacks, three interceptions, 17 pass defenses, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Sutton has been one of the most versatile players in the secondary, saying the freedom to move around has helped him, and that versatility was on display in 2020. Sutton was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Tennessee.

Take a look at photographs of Steelers CB Cameron Sutton from the 2020 season

Nose tackle Chris Wormley – Signed a two-year contract
Chris Wormley played in 13 games in 2020, starting one, and finished the season with eight tackles, including one for a loss, one sack and three quarterback hits. Wormley missed time after he was placed on the Reserve/Injured List after suffering a knee injury against the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. The team acquired Wormley and a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft from the Baltimore Ravens during the 2020 offseason and sent the Ravens their fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Wormley was selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the 74th pick overall. He has played in 52 games with 15 starts, including playing in all 16 games in 2019 with seven starts while in Baltimore. In four seasons he has racked up 62 tackles, 38 of them solo stops, three and a half sacks and seven pass defenses.

Take a look at photographs of Steelers NT Chris Wormley from the 2020 season

In other moves, center Maurkice Pouncey retired, while the team terminated the contracts of cornerback Steven Nelson and linebacker Vince Williams.