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Steelers Sign former Penn State WR DeAndre Thompkins, Waive CB Alexander Myres

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The Steelers have signed former Penn State wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins and waived cornerback Alexander Myres, the team announced on Sunday.

Thompkins, 24, had a tryout with the Steelers on Friday. He last played with the DC Defenders in the XFL this spring. He finished the abbreviated spring season with seven catches on 17 targets for 85 yards and one touchdown. In 2019, he was with the Philadelphia Eagles in training camp.

In four seasons with Penn State, the 5-foot-11, 188-pound Thompkins had 83 catches for 1,245 yards (15 yards per catch) and eight total touchdowns.

With the additions of Thompkins and Ray-Ray McCloud in the last week, the Steelers now have 10 wide receivers on their 80-man practice squad roster.

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Alexander Myres (35) trains at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex during the Steelers 2020 Training Camp, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

Myres originally joined the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Houston in April 2019, spent the 2019 season on the team’s practice squad and signed a futures contract for the 2020 season in February.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound corner had been battling for time as a slot corner with 2020 rookie free agent Trajan Bandy.

The team’s roster remains at the 80-man limit after the pair of moves.

Steelers Transactions

Steelers Sign CB Stephen Denmark, TEs Charles Jones, Dax Raymond to Future Contracts

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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.

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald (89) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Charles Jones (88) practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex preparing for a Week 12 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Caitlyn Epes / Pittsburgh Steelers)

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.

#87 Dax Raymond

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.

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Steelers Transactions

Steelers Sign QB Dwayne Haskins to Future Contract

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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.

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.

 

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Steelers Transactions

Steelers Let Contracts of Five Practice Squad Players, Including QB Devlin Hodges, Expire

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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.

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