Steelers by position, pre-free agency: TEs

Another in a position-by-position series examining the Steelers' roster in advance of the start of free agency.

(Free Agent Scorecard: 2 unrestricted – David Johnson, Michael Palmer)


This ended up being a second straight season spent on injured reserve – from training camp in 2012 and from Oct. 15 in 2013 – and that certainly clouds Johnson's future with the team. His injuries, the emergence of Will Johnson, the return of Matt Spaeth, and his own unrestricted free agency all figure to impact his immediate future here.

His return from ACL surgery was quicker than any reasonable person had a right to expect, and the 58 catches he accumulated in the 14 games he played were the third most of his career. Miller is a pro's pro, an asset to the franchise, a good teammate. Heading into his 10th season as a player who will be 32 in October, Miller will have the benefit of an offseason where he can spend the time preparing his body instead of rehabilitating a major injury.

Added during training camp for fortify the unit when it was hit by injuries, Palmer didn't turn out to be as good of an in-line blocker as Matt Spaeth. Since he's a No. 3 tight end here at best, he could look elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent.

He was involved in two big plays all season: the fumble he lost in Cincinnati after a big gain, and the pass he caught off the fake punt in Green Bay. Going into his third season, Paulson better be turning in a lot more of the latter than the former, or someone else might catch the team's eye.

He signing last offseason wasn't ballyhooed, but Spaeth's value showed up down the stretch when the offense began running the ball more consistently. In-line blocking is what Spaeth does, and the Steelers don't have anyone who does it as well.

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