Seven members of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 practice squad officially became free agents on Monday and are free to sign with any team.
Practice squad contracts run only for the course of the season, but teams can choose to re-sign players to future contracts for the following year. The Steelers retained nine of their 16 practice squad players on 2024 future contracts last week.
That leaves seven players that finished the season on the Steelers’ practice squad that are now free agents: nose tackle Breiden Fehoko, inside linebacker Myles Jack, running back Anthony McFarland Jr., outside linebacker David Perales, safety Eric Rowe, inside linebacker Jaylon Smith and punter Brad Wing.
Those players can sign with a playoff team for the rest of the 2023 season, or they can ink a future contract with any team for the 2024 season.
Fehoko was signed by the Steelers last offseason, was one of the final cuts of training camp, and started the season on the Steelers’ practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster after Cam Heyward’s injury, and was active for one game, but not play. Fehoko was later waived and remained on the practice squad for the rest of the season.
Jack joined the Steelers as a free agent on Nov. 20 after having retired during training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles. The veteran, who was a starter for the Steelers in 2022, got back into form for the stretch run, playing in each of the team’s final four games and making one start while helping to fill in for multiple injuries.
McFarland, the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, made he team out of training camp, but lost his No. 3 running back and kickoff returner duties to free agent Godwin Igwebuike mid-season, and was eventually waived and placed on the practice squad.
Perales signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State last spring and had three different stints on the practice squad this season, but was never elevated for a game.
Rowe was another key late-season veteran addition. He was signed on Nov. 21, as the Steelers dealt with a number of injuries at the safety position. Rowe started each of the team’s final three games and the playoff contest at the Buffalo Bills. He had a team-high 12 tackles against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 18, along with a pass defense and a forced fumble.
Smith, 28, is another veteran that joined the Steelers late in the season. He was signed on Dec. 26, but the team never needed to call him up to the active roster for a game. Smith is a seven-year NFL vet with experience with four teams.
Wing had two stints with the team this season, resurrecting his career. Before 2023, Wing last played in the NFL with the New York Giants in 2017. Substance abuse issues sidetracked his career, but he returned to pro football in the XFL last spring, and the Steelers gave him a shot when Pressley Harvin III was injured. Wing played two games and averaged 45 yards per punt.