Grimble signed a one-year contract extension with the Steelers on Monday, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports. Grimble snagged just five receptions for 32 yards and one touchdown in 2017, and he was used mainly for his run-blocking abilities. As long as Jesse James and Vance McDonald are ahead of him in the depth chart, Grimble isn't expected to produce much more than that. This contract will take Grimble through the 2018 season.
Grimble caught one pass (on two targets) for two yards in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Browns, finishing the 2017 season with five catches (on 10 targets) for 32 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. There just doesn't seem to be enough balls to go around with all the weapons on Pittsburgh's offense, so when you're the third tight end on the depth chart expectations shouldn't be too high. Grimble is an exclusive-rights free agent, so his future remains to be seen.
Grimble caught three passes for 26 yards and a touchdown Saturday against the Colts. The catches were the first this preseason for Grimble and did not come until after halftime in Pittsburgh's 19-15 loss. He was the third tight end to see any targets but still figures to be in the mix with Jesse James and Dave Johnson once the regular season begins.
Grimble is currently expected to serve as the Steelers' second-string tight end, but he could make a push for the starting job if his consistency improves, Bob Labriola of Steelers.com reports. Grimble is pegged behind Jesse James at tight end after the Steelers released Ladarius Green (concussion) in May. Although he only caught 11 passes on 21 targets for 118 yards and two scores as a rookie, Grimble has reportedly shown flashes lately, which could allow him to put pressure on James. However, in order to do so, Grimble will need to show more reliable hands, and whether he does so is something to monitor once training camp begins.
Grimble could see an uptick in snaps and targets as a result of Ladarius Green (concussion) being released, PennLive.com's Lauren Kirschman reports. Jesse James was the obvious beneficiary when Green was unavailable last season, making 13 starts in 16 games and catching 39 of 60 targets for 338 yards (8.7 per catch) and three touchdowns. While his blocking ability makes him a clear favorite to reprise the starting role, James can't provide the kind of downfield threat presented by Green, who produced 16.9 yards per catch on his 19 receptions last season. Grimble wasn't exactly a big-play threat last year -- averaging 10.7 yards on 11 catches -- but he does have the potential to fill a niche that's closer to what the Steelers hoped to get out of Green. It's thus possible Grimble will replace James in obvious passing situations, which could even out the distribution of targets between the two. Such a situation would prevent both players from achieving fantasy relevance in a Pittsburgh offense that figures to heavily rely on its wide receivers and Le'Veon Bell in the passing game.
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