Wide receiver Steven Sims is making his first visit of free agency. According to KPRC’s Aaron Wilson, Sims is visiting with the Houston Texans today.
Sims was a restricted free agent who the Steelers did not tender before the start of the new league year last Wednesday, making the Texas native an unrestricted free agent free to sign with any team. Pittsburgh chose not to tender any of their pending restricted free agents: CB James Pierre, C J.C. Hassenauer, and RB Jeremy McNichols.
Sims saw his role with the Steelers expand last season as it progressed. Replacing Gunner Olszewski as the team’s kick and punt returner, he returned 19 punts for an average of 5.5 yards and 17 kicks for a 25.5 yard average, highlighted by an 89-yard return in a Week 6 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Following Chase Claypool’s trade to Chicago, Sims saw rotational snaps as the team’s slot receiver, catching 14 passes for 104 yards. He saw nearly as much action carrying the ball on jet runs, finishing the year with 13 rushes for 70 yards. His biggest offensive play was a great, 24-yard grab down the seam in the team’s comeback win against the Baltimore Ravens.
Pittsburgh has questions in the slot. Rookie Calvin Austin III missed his rookie season with a foot injury while Olszewski struggled to find a home in the lineup and lost his return job after fumbles and muffed punts. It’s an area to which the team could look to add, especially if Sims leaves elsewhere. Undrafted out of Kansas, Sims was signed by the Steelers in 2021. He appeared in just one game in ’21, failing to catch a pass.
Of those with NFL experience in Pittsburgh, the Steelers’ wide receiver room currently consists of Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Olszewski, Anthony Miller, and Cody White. Dez Fitzpatrick and Dan Chisena were signed to Futures contracts this offseason and both have had a cup of coffee in the NFL, though Chisena has primarily been employed to play special teams.
This offseason, the Steelers have lost CB Cam Sutton to Detroit and LBs Devin Bush and Malik Reed to Seattle and Miami, respectively.