Under contract: Heath Miller is signed through 2016.
Free agents: Matt Spaeth and Michael Palmer will each become unrestricted free agents if neither re-signs with the Steelers before March 10.
The good: Miller, 32, remains a key cog in both the running and passing games. The 10th-year veteran caught 66 passes for 761 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. Miller has started 30 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in the NFL among tight ends. He is third among active tight ends in both career receptions (532) and receiving yards (6.034 yards). Miller does not offer much after the catch, but he is a trusted target of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and is good at working the middle of the field.
The bad: The Steelers don’t have a tight end who stretches defenses, something that more teams are acquiring with the proliferation of spread offenses in college altering the complexion of the position. Spaeth is a very good blocker, but doesn’t offer much in the passing game. Even if the Steelers bring him back, they still need to get younger at the position.
The burning question: Would the Steelers target a tight end such as such Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron in free agency? Cameron is only 26 and would be an excellent acquisition for the Steelers. He appears to want no part of the Browns, but the Steelers aren’t in a position to get in a bidding war for him, either.
The money: Miller has a base salary of $4 million for 2015 and a salary cap hit of $5.67 million.
Draft priority: Medium to high. If the Steelers don’t sign a tight end in free agency, they could take one early in the draft. It is the one position on offense where they have questions, both in the short-term and long-term.
He said it: “I’m a little concerned about the depth there. You want to have young depth, so that may include a young free agent; it may include a draft pick.” – general manager Kevin Colbert on the Steelers’ situation at tight end.