Separately, ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano reports that Steelers’ right tackle Matt Feiler is signing his second-round tender.
It means that both restricted free agents will be with the Pittsburgh Steelers through the 2020 season.
The timing of the signings is not coincidental. Under the collective bargaining agreement teams have the right to reduce their offers to restricted free agents beginning next week.
For his part, Feiler will earn $3.259 million in 2020 and become an unrestricted free agent in 2021, unless he signs a contract extension before then. It’s a big raise over his 2019 salary, when he earned $645,000.
It’s been an exciting offseason for Matt and his wife Julie, who recently announced the birth of a daughter on Twitter.
The Steelers’ Offensive Line in 2020
Feiler is expected to start at right tackle for the Steelers in 2020 after spending most of the past two seasons at that position. But it’s conceivable he could be moved to left guard to replace Ramon Foster, who retired during the offseason.
Yet the Steelers signed veteran guard Stefen Wisniewski in free agency and also drafted Kevin Dotson in the fourth round of the 2020 Draft, and both are candidates to take over at left guard.
In addition, the Steelers may not want to move Feiler away from a position where he has thrived. According to Pro Football Focus, Feiler—listed at 6-6 and 330 pounds—was responsible for only four sacks and three penalties over the course of 995 plays last season.
But Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor could also figure into the mix at either tackle spot, though Alejandro Villanueva figures to hold onto his starting job at left tackle for at least one more season. Villanueva is one of the Steelers’ top 5 unrestricted free agents entering 2021, as he’s on the last year of a four-year $24 million contract he signed in 2017.
Matt Feiler’s Career with the Steelers
Feiler has started 27 games since earning a spot on the Steelers’ roster in 2017. He was signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent out of Division II Bloomsburg University, Pa., and spent a season on the Texans’ practice squad before another two years on the Steelers’ practice squad. Then in 2017 Feiler earned a spot on Pittsburgh’s active roster before finally cracking the starting lineup in 2018 and starting all 16 games in 2019.
It seems likely that Feiler will want to continue his career in Pittsburgh beyond 2020, though it may be a challenge for the organization to fit him under the salary cap going forward. Feiler recently told Steelers.com that he loves it in Pittsburgh.
“My family is from Pennsylvania, so we are very close to home,” Feiler said. “I think we found a home here.”
Meanwhile, the 27-year-old plans to continue working on his game based on what he sees during film study, and this offseason he’s focusing on footwork and movement.
“Every offseason I have worked on something that I have found a weakness in during the season,” he said. “I am going to continue to do that.”
Feiler’s salary cap hit in 2020 will be $3.259 million.
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