The Steelers have tendered offers to two restricted free agents, offensive tackle Matt Feiler and cornerback Mike Hilton. Financial terms of the tendered offers were not disclosed.
Feiler has become a staple on the Steelers offensive line over the last two seasons, making 26 of his 27 career starts during that time frame.
"I love it here," said Feiler earlier this offseason. "My family is from Pennsylvania, so we are very close to home. I think we found a home here."
Feiler remembers the days when he didn't know if he would make an NFL roster, let alone be a starter. Keep in mind this is a guy who went undrafted in 2014, eventually signing with the Houston Texans and spending the 2014 season on their practice squad.
He was then released by the Texans before the start of the 2015 season, and was signed to the Steelers practice squad, spending another season watching and learning. The 2016 season was almost the same, spending the vast majority of the year on the Steelers practice squad, active for just one game.
In 2017 it all changed. Feiler made the Steelers 53-man roster and played in five games, including one start. It might not seem like a lot, but it was the start of something special. In 2018, when Marcus Gilbert went out early injured, Feiler stepped in, playing in 11 games and starting 10 at right tackle. He started all 16 games in 2019.
"It's kind of weird," admitted Feiler. "When I first got in the NFL, I didn't know how I was going to be a part of it. Looking back, finishing up my fifth season with the Steelers, it flies by. You are considered an old guy. It's wild to think about.
"It's kind of cool, especially guys from my background, small school, undrafted. It's cool to see my hard work pay off a little bit.
"I have learned a lot since I have been playing in the NFL. My growth and knowledge keep on climbing. It's cool to reflect on."
Feiler isn't spending the offseason reflecting, instead he is working on every aspect of his game, so whatever the 2020 season brings for him, he will be prepared.
"I am starting to see and realize the areas I need to work on more, especially on film," said Feiler. "Seeing it on film makes me want to work on that more. My footwork and my movement. I feel like I am a little tight in the hips sometimes. I want to work on flexibility and mobility and things like that.
"I just have to continue to do what I have been doing. Every offseason I have worked on something that I have found a weakness in during the season. I am going to continue to do that."
Hilton has played in 47 games with 14 starts in three seasons.
"I feel like I am a true definition of a Pittsburgh Steeler," said Hilton earlier this offseason. "I am a grinder. Nothing comes easy. I would love to spend the rest of my career here."
Hilton has 22 tackles for a loss to his credit, the second-most in the NFL among defensive backs since he entered the league in 2017. His six and a half sacks are fourth-most among defensive backs since he entered the league as well.
Hilton finished the 2019 season with 63 tackles, including 50 solo stops, 11 pass defenses, one and a half sacks, and one interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery. For his career he has 184 tackles, with 142 solo stops, four interceptions, 21 pass defenses, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
"I want to help bring the Steelers a championship," said Hilton previously. "The Steelers are a historical organization. I love it here. I want to stay as long as possible. I am trying to show everybody I want to be here."