Texans Work Out Failed Former Steelers Receiver


Maddie Meyer/Getty Images Donte Moncrief of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled by the New England Patriots during a game on September 08, 2019.

When the Houston Texans cut former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Donte Moncrief in late July, it seemed like it might be the end of the road for the eight-year NFL veteran. Not so fast.

According to longtime NFL reporter Aaron Wilson, on Monday the Texans worked out Moncrief, along with five other players.

The Texans originally inked Moncrief to a one-year, $1.15 million contract in March, despite the fact that he didn’t exactly set the world on fire at any of his last three NFL stops—with the Steelers, New York Jets and New England Patriots.

Of the three, he had the most success in New England (in 2020), as he appeared in six games and caught one pass for 15 yards while rushing for four yards. He even managed to spark a Patriots comeback win (vs. the Arizona Cardinals) by breaking off a 53-yard kickoff return, especially notable in that Moncrief has hardly any history as a kick returner.

Moncrief’s Career Arc Changed in 2019

But it was in Pittsburgh where Moncrief’s career took a nose dive. Prior to that the onetime third-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts (2014) had been a productive receiver in both Indy and Jacksonville (2018).

In fact, Moncrief had 200 career receptions with 21 receiving touchdowns during his first five seasons in the league. That explains why the Steelers were willing to give him a two-year, $9 million contract in March 2019—a thrill for Moncrief’s father, Spencer, who is a longtime Steelers fan, according to Steelers.com.

But Moncrief dropped four passes in Pittsburgh’s season-opening loss to the Patriots in Sept. 2019, as many as he caught in his entire Steelers tenure. Then he was responsible for Mason Rudolph’s first career interception the next week against Seattle, which was effectively the end of his opportunity in Pittsburgh, though the Steelers didn’t release him until November 2019.

The timing was not coincidental; the Steelers had to cut him to preserve an anticipated compensatory pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Pittsburgh used that pick to draft outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, who now starts opposite fellow OLB and perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate T.J. Watt. But the move was not without consequences. He took up $1.75 million worth of space on the team’s 2020 salary cap, the second-highest ‘dead money’ cap hit on the books that year.

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Buccaneers Work Out Kameron Canaday

Meanwhile, on Monday Aaron Wilson also reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worked out former Steelers long-snapper Kameron Canaday and five other players.

Canaday, 28, served as Pittsburgh’s long-snapper for four seasons (2017-20), but this summer he lost his job to Christian Kuntz, 27, who beat him out in the preseason after Kuntz worked on his craft for several years, motivated by feedback he heard at a workout for the Green Bay Packers in 2017.

It doesn’t appear as if Canaday will be joining the Buccaneers, however, as Tampa Bay has elected to sign former Jacksonville Jaguars long-snapper Carson Tinker to its active roster. The Bucs needed a new long-snapper thanks to a hand injury suffered by Zach Triner in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

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