In addition to offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, two other Steelers coaches will not be returning for the 2021 season, as the team announced that assistant coaches Tom Bradley and Shaun Sarrett will not have their contracts renewed.
“I want to thank all three of the coaches for their commitment and dedication to the Pittsburgh Steelers,” head coach Mike Tomlin said in a press release.
Bradley, 64, spent three years as the Steelers defensive backs coach after a long collegiate career, most notably at his alma mater Penn State, where he moved up the ranks from graduate assistant to defense coordinator, where he served from 2000-11. He was Lions interim head coach at the end of the 2011 season after the firing of Joe Paterno. Bradley also coached at West Virginia and UCLA before joining the Steelers.
As defensive backs coach, Bradley oversaw one of the league’s best pass defenses in 2020. The Steelers finished the league second with 198.4 yards per game allowed through the air this past season and were no worse than fourth in any of Bradley’s three seasons leading the secondary.
Sarrett, 41, spent nine seasons with the Steelers, the last two as offensive line coach, taking over from former mentor Mike Munchak in 2019. Before that, Sarrett was an offensive assistant from 2012-17 and the assistant offensive line coach in 2018.
A Beckley, West Virginia native, Sarrett played college football at Kent State and coached at Marshall and Duke before joining the Steelers.
The 2020 Steelers’ line was the best in the NFL at protecting its quarterback, as Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 0.8 times per game, the best mark in the NFL. But the Steelers were woeful running the ball, finishing a dead-last 32nd in the league with a 3.6 yards per carry rushing average.
Steelers Sign CB Stephen Denmark, TEs Charles Jones, Dax Raymond to Future Contracts
The Steelers signed four players to future contracts for the 2021 season on Thursday, including former Washington first-round pick, quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
The team also announced the singings of defensive back Stephen Denmark and tight ends Charles Jones and Dax Raymond on Thursday afternoon.
Denmark, 24, was a seventh-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in the 2019 NFL Draft and spent the last two seasons with Chicago and the Cleveland Browns. He was released from Chicago’s practice squad on Oct. 5, signed to Cleveland’s on Nov. 10 and then cut by the Browns on Dec. 1.
A 6-foot-3, 220-pound cornerback from Valdosta (Ga.) State, Denmark has never played in an NFL game. At Valdosta State, he moved from wide receiver to defense in his senior season, when he played 14 games and recorded 55 tackles, eight for a loss, had one sacks, three interceptions, 12 passes defended and forced one fumble as Valdosta went on to win the NCAA Division II championship.
Former Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend, now Chicago’s secondary coach, scouted Denmark for the Bears.
Jones finished the 2020 season on the Steelers’ practice squad. He originally signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane in 2019 and spent most of his rookie season on practice squad.
In 2020, he was waived by the Jaguars with an injury settlement. He spent three days on the Buffalo Bills practice squad before catching on with the Steelers on Nov. 17.
Jones has appeared in four career NFL games, all in 2019 with Jacksonville. He has one catch on one target for five yards and also played 10 snaps of special teams without recording any statistics. At Tulane, Jones caught 61 passes for 460 yards and eight touchdowns over four seasons, but his productivity declined in his junior and senior seasons.
Raymond will join the Steelers for a second stint. He signed with the team late in training camp after being released by the Chicago Bears, but was injured and waived with an injury settlement before the start of the season.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end originally signed with the Bears as an undrafted rookie out of Utah State in 2019. He suffered a head injury in Chicago’s fourth preseason game and he was placed on the injured reserve, then later waived with an injury settlement and re-signed to Chicago’s practice squad. He finished the 2019 preseason with three catches for 22 yards.
At Utah State, Raymond was a two-year starter, grabbing 72 balls for 873 yards and three touchdowns in his career. He was a two-time All-Mountain West selection.
Steelers Sign QB Dwayne Haskins to Future Contract
The Steelers signed free agent quarterback Dwayne Haskins to a contract after the team hosted him for a visit on Thursday, the team announced on Thursday afternoon.
Haskins will wear No. 3 with the Steelers, he announced on social media.
— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) January 21, 2021
The 23-year-old was released by Washington on Dec. 23 after a failed tenure as a starting quarterback. He was replaced in Washington by veteran Alex Smith and then eventually by unheralded journeyman Taylor Heinicke after Smith was injured.
In 16 games with Washington, Haskins threw 444 times, completing 267 for 2804 yards, a 60.1% completion percentage. He threw for 12 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions and recorded a 74.4 passer rating. He was also sacked 49 times.
Washington released Haskins less then two years after making him the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Haskins entered the NFL early, playing just two seasons at Ohio State and only one as a starter. In 2018, he threw for 4,831 yards, 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions with the Buckeyes.
Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reportedly intends to return for the final season of his contract, but the 38-year-old is set to count for $41 million toward the Steelers’ 2021 salary cap.
The Steelers chose to allow the contract of practice squad quarterback Devlin Hodges to lapse and third-stringer Joshua Dobbs is headed for unrestricted free agency this offseason.
Steelers Let Contracts of Five Practice Squad Players, Including QB Devlin Hodges, Expire
The Steelers let the contracts of five members of their 2020 practice squad expire on Monday, including former starting quarterback Devlin Hodges.
Hodges, wide receiver Deon Cain, tight end Charles Jones, running back Wendell Smallwood and kicker Matthew Wright all had their contracts lapse.
Four of the five players saw playing time with the Steelers at some point in the last two seasons, most notably Hodges, who started six games and played in eight in 2019.
Filling after injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph, Hodges threw for 1,063 yards while completing 62.5% of his passes. He threw for five touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 71.4 quarterback rating. The Steelers went 3-3 in games Hodges started.
After the Steelers re-acquired Josh Dobbs in the 2020 offseason, Hodges was bumped to fourth on the team’s depth chart and was not activated at any point during the 2020 season.
Wright filled in three times for injured Steelers kicker Chris Boswell this season, making seven of seven extra points and all four field goals, including three in the team’s Week 17 loss at Cleveland.
Cain played in two games as a practice squad recall this season without a target after spending six games in Pittsburgh — including three starts — in 2019, when he caught five of six passes for 72 yards.
Smallwood, a West Virginia alum, signed with the team as a free agent this offseason and was activated from the practice squad for one games, playing just two snaps on special teams.
Jones joined the team’s practice squad midseason after previously spending time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.
The players’ contracts expiring do not preclude them from re-singing with the Steelers for 2021. The Steelers have signed 15 players to futures contracts for the 2021 season since the team’s 2020 season ended.