NFL

Darrius Heyward-Bey to Steelers: Latest Contract Details, Updates and Reaction

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 20:  Darrius Heyward-Bey #81 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2014

The Pittsburgh Steelers bolstered quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's receiving corps on Wednesday as they signed Darrius Heyward-Bey to a one-year contract, according to the team's official Twitter account:

Heyward-Bey was originally a first-round selection of the Oakland Raiders in 2009, and while he has shown some flashes of brilliance during his NFL career, there is no question that he has failed to live up to his status as the No. 7 overall pick.   

DHB was viewed as a typical Raiders draft pick due to his blazing speed, but things appeared to start clicking for him in 2011, when he caught 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns. Heyward-Bey couldn't build on that in 2012, though, which led to him signing with the Indianapolis Colts prior to the 2013 season.

Heyward-Bey was never able to get on the same page as quarterback Andrew Luck, and even after star wide receiver Reggie Wayne went down for the season due to injury, Heyward-Bey was essentially a non-factor.

He finished the year with just 29 grabs for 309 yards and one score, and that is why he is likely being viewed as an unheralded and under-the-radar signing.

Financial terms have not yet been disclosed, per Steelers.com, but it is difficult to imagine the monetary portion of the deal being robust after a poor 2013 campaign.

With that said, this is a low-risk signing from Pittsburgh's point of view. Heyward-Bey has it all as far as physical tools are concerned and he should be firmly in his prime still at 27 years old, which Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review pointed to as assets in his favor:

Antonio Brown is the Steelers' unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver, but after Emmanuel Sanders signed with the Denver Broncos, it became clear that Pittsburgh needed to add some depth at the position.

The Steelers previously signed former New Orleans Saints slot receiver Lance Moore, which should help in terms of short routes, while Heyward-Bey is a guy who can stretch the field.

Pittsburgh hasn't made the playoffs since 2011, and while signing Heyward-Bey isn't a move that will necessarily put the Steelers over the top, it can't hurt.

Big Ben has a way of making his receivers better, and it is entirely possible that he will help resurrect Heyward-Bey's career.

Even if he doesn't, the commitment is minimal and the Steelers can move on without feeling too badly about it.

 

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