Several of those players have already signed with other teams, including wide receiver Deon Cain, who has caught on with the wideout-needy Baltimore Ravens.
We have signed WR Deon Cain to a Reserve/Future contract.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 22, 2021
Deon Cain’s Steelers Career
Cain spent most of the 2020 season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad, though he was elevated for two games in Week 6 and Week 17, playing a total of 10 snaps.
He had a more productive year in 2019, when he generated 52 yards on four receptions in seven games for the Indianapolis Colts before the Steelers signed him off Indy’s practice squad halfway through his second season.
He went on to play in six games for the Steelers, contributing five catches for 72 yards on 70 total snaps.
Cain is a Clemson University product who entered the NFL in 2018 as a sixth-round draft pick of the Colts. He spent his rookie year on injured reserve.
Lions Sign Placekicker Matthew Wright
On Friday, the Detroit Lions also announced that they have signed former Steelers placekicker Matthew Wright to a reserve/future contract. The move comes just days after the Lions had the fledgling young kicker in for a visit.
Naturally, Wright would like to earn a full-time kicking job, and he might very well get the opportunity in Detroit, as Lions kicker Matt Prater is 36 years old and a pending unrestricted free agent who earned $2.7 million last year.
Wright would be a much less expensive option, assuming the Lions can live with his noticeably short kickoffs. In return, Detroit would enjoy the 24-year-old’s accuracy. In three games with the Steelers in 2020, Wright converted all seven extra points and four field goals that head coach Mike Tomlin asked him to attempt, including a pair of 46-yarders in Week 17.
He also made five-of-six field goal attempts for the Steelers during the 2019 preseason — his only other audition for the team — which followed in the wake of him signing as an undrafted free agent out of Central Florida.
Tight End Charles Jones Has Been Re-Signed
Meanwhile, another of the five players whose practice squad contracts expired on Monday has already been re-signed by the Steelers, that being tight end Charles Jones.
Jones is one of three tight ends that Pittsburgh has already signed to future contracts, a list that also includes Dax Raymond and Kevin Rader.
The Steelers will be looking to add depth at the position prior to the 2021 regular season following the retirement of Vance McDonald on Friday. The only two established tight ends currently on the roster are starter Eric Ebron and rising third-year player Zach Gentry, a 2019 fifth-round pick out of the University of Michigan.
Dwayne Haskins Received an Offer From the Panthers
In one other bit of notable reserve/future contract news, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes that new Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins also had an offer from the Carolina Panthers, but he chose to sign with the AFC North champions.
Dwayne Haskins had an opportunity to sign with the Steelers or the Panthers, whom he recently visited, per source. Once he visited Pittsburgh today, both parties were expected to get something done.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 21, 2021
According to Haskins’ Twitter account, the former first-round pick will wear No. 3 with the Steelers after donning No. 7 during his first two seasons in Washington.
— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) January 21, 2021
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