NFL Free Agency: Pittsburgh Steelers Sign Wide Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey


Nov 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (81) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Colts 40-11. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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You can call it an even offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wide receiver category, at least by the raw numbers.

After seeing incumbent pass-catchers Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery sign elsewhere via NFL free agency, the Steelers have added Lance Moore and – as of Wednesday afternoon – former Raiders first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey to counteract their losses.

The Steelers got the jump on the news cycle by announcing their new addition via Twitter. Financial terms of the one-year deal were not immediately released, although with Pittsburgh up against the salary cap, it couldn’t be too lucrative.

Heyward-Bey, 27, spent 2013 with the Colts, for whom he caught 29 passes for 309 yards and one touchdown. All of those totals, including his 10.7 yards-per-catch average, were at their lowest since his rookie year of 2009.

The former Maryland star had his best pro season in 2011, when he pulled in 65 balls for 975 yards (15.2 YPC) and four scores for the Raiders. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Heyward-Bey gives the Steelers some much-needed size at the receiver position, something they didn’t pick up with the Moore signing.

Heyward-Bey projects to join Moore, 2013 Pro Bowler Antonio Brown and second-year player Markus Wheaton on the Steelers’ receiving depth chart this fall, in addition to whomever they may take in next month’s NFL Draft.