Steelers Signing Free Agent Wide Receiver: Report

Ray-Ray-McCloud

Norm Hall/Getty Images Ray-Ray McCloud straight arms Andy Lee of the Arizona Cardinals during a punt return in 2019.

According to NFL Network and NFL.com reporter Tom Pelissero the Pittsburgh Steelers are planning to sign free agent wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud.

McCloud is one of three wide receivers that the Steelers had in for tryouts this week. The other two receivers were Cody White, an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State, and DeAndrew White, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Alabama.

It remains to be seen who the Steelers are cutting to make room for McCloud on the roster.


About Ray-Ray McCloud

Ray-Ray McCloud III is a former 2018 sixth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills who played for the Carolina Panthers last year. McCloud has appeared in 16 NFL games with one start with a total of five receptions for 36 yards. He also has some experience as both a kickoff returner and punt returner, having returned nine kickoffs for 192 yards, an average of 21.3 yards per return. He also has 14 punt returns to his credit for a total of 102 yards, a 7.3 yard average.

The 5-9, 190 pound receiver was cut by the Bills on July 28, making him available for a tryout.

Before coming to the NFL, McCloud starred at Clemson University, which also produced former Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant.

At Clemson he caught 127 passes for 1,226 yards and four touchdowns over the course of 40 games, including 20 starts.

He also had 50 punt returns for 485 yards and a touchdown, as well as four kickoff returns for 138 yards. He was named second-team All-American punt returner by Pro Football Focus in 2017 and Honorable Mention All-ACC in 2017 as an all-purpose player. He finished his college career eighth all-time in Clemson history in punt return yards.

McCloud posted a 4.53 40-yard dash time at the 2018 NFL Combine. He’s a native of Tampa, Florida.


About Pittsburgh’s Wide Receiver Situation

While Pittsburgh seems to be set in terms of its top five receivers with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Dionate Johnson, James Washington, Ryan Switzer and rookie Chase Claypool, there does appear to be an opening for a sixth wide receiver who can excel on special teams, plus spots available on the practice squad.

There’s also the possibility that the Steelers could explore trading Smith-Schuster, as there’s the expectation that they will not be able to re-sign the fourth-year wide receiver in 2021 thanks to impending salary cap challenges. Also, the Steelers seem well-positioned to replace Smith-Schuster, if necessary.

Claypool, who I’ve argued is a great draft pick, has already impressed his teammates—including Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, who said Claypool is ‘going to be a problem’ for opposing defenders, thanks to his rare combination of size, speed and work ethic.

Smith-Schuster is one of Pittsburgh’s top 5 pending unrestricted free agents entering 2021, a list that also includes defensive end Cameron Heyward and running back James Conner.

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