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Transaction Monday: Steelers make one ‘meh’ signing, one intriguing signing

After failed pursuits of big name free agents Dre Kirkpatrick and Dont’a Hightower during the first week of free agency, the Steelers are making the typical zero risk, minimal impact type signings they are accustomed to making after the first, second wave of free agents are off the market.

They are signing bodies who could play depth roles but are no guarantees to make the 53-man roster.

Pittsburgh inked wide receiver Justin Hunter last week and Monday made two signings, agreeing to a one-year contract with Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis and signing veteran cornerback Coty Sensabaugh to a two-year contract.

A 3rd round pick (96th overall) in 2013 of the Chiefs, Davis has become mostly a journeyman type player, spending parts of his four year career with the Chiefs who drafted him, a few weeks with the Packers (traded by Kansas City to Green Bay on 10/18/16 | Released by Green on 10/31/16), less than two days with the Jets in November (claimed on 11/1/16 by Jets | Waived 11/2 ) and then resigned with Chiefs again late last season.

Davis rushed for 28 yards on 18 carries in 2016 and had 207 kick return yards. He has a career yards per carry average of 3.22. He was inactive vs the Steelers in the divisional playoffs.

Davis has rushed the ball just 46 times over the last two seasons, averaging 2.17 yards per carry. His most significant playing time came with the Chiefs in 2014 when he rushed for 463 yards on 134 carries and had 7 total touchdowns. That season Davis also had a career high 829 kick return yards.

STEELERS RUNNING BACK DEPTH CHART
1. Le’Veon Bell

2. Fitzgerald Toussaint
3. Knile Davis
4. Brandon Brown-Dukes
5. Gus Johnson

In his career Davis has averaged 26.8 yards on kickoffs (73 attempts). If Davis makes the roster it will be because of his ability on kickoffs. The Steelers by no means have found a backup to Le’Veon Bell.


— The Steelers signing of Coty Sensabaugh is another minor one on paper for now but there’s some intrigue here. At 5-11, 189-pounds, he’s a physical corner in the slot who is primarily a nickel back. The Steelers also liked him last off-season when he signed witht he Rams.

His best season came in 2015 when he had 58 tackles and 2 interceptions for the Titans that landed him a 3 year, $15 million contract with the LA Rams. Sensabaugh, though, was released three weeks into the 2016 season by the Rams and caught on with the Giants.

Sensabaugh, 28, played 217 snaps with the Giants on defense and had 25 tackles, 1 forced fumble.

On the outside, the Steelers expect to go with Artie Burns and Ross Cockrell as the team is confident of resigning Cockrell who was giving an original round RFA tender and has been talking with other teams.

In the slot is where things get tricky for now.

Ideally Senquez Golson finally stays healthy and becomes that guy in 2017 but barring what the Steelers do in the draft, the Sensabaugh signing gives the Steelers good competition there.

William Gay set to make $2 million in 2017, is 32 years old and not a lock to make the team. Sensabaugh is potentially a younger, more physical version of Gay.

Like Knile Davis, if Sensabaugh locks down a roster spot, his contributions on special teams will likely be a reason why. He’s an experienced special teams player, appearing in 100 special teams snaps in 16.

STEELERS CORNERBACK DEPTH CHART
Artie Burns
Ross Cockrell (RFA)
William Gay/Coty Sensabaugh
Senquez Golson
Brandon Dixon
Mike Hilton

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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