NFL Free Agency 2020: Steelers sign Eric Ebron to two-year, $12 million deal, per report

The Pittsburgh Steelers gave Ben Roethlisberger another pass-catching weapon for 2020, signing Eric Ebron to a two-year, $12 million deal per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Ebron, a former first-round pick of the Detroit Lions, has 3,195 yards and 27 touchdowns in six NFL seasons.

A Pro Bowler in 2018, Ebron had his best season, catching 66 passes for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns with the Indianapolis Colts. Sharing tight end duties with Jack Doyle, Ebron was a force in the red zone as the Colts won the AFC South that year. 

An ankle injury limited Ebron in 2019, as he finished with just 31 catches for 375 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games. Inconsistency plagued Ebron, which is why he only started two games last season. Ebron fell out of favor with the Colts after shutting it down for the year with his ankle injury, weeks after meeting with Colts head coach Frank Reich regarding his role in the offense. 

Ebron will compete with Vance McDonald for the starting job at tight end, as the Steelers picked up the 2020 option ($5.5 million option) in his contract. McDonald caught just 38 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns last season (7.2 yards per catch), one year after finishing with 50 catches for 610 yards and four touchdowns (12.2 yards per catch).

McDonald’s numbers should improve with Roethlisberger back at quarterback as the Steelers will benefit with a “12” personnel of McDonald and Ebron. Pittsburgh can use Ebron’s strength in the red zone, looking to improve a red zone offense that ranked dead last in the NFL last season (35% touchdown conversion rate). 

The Steelers never had a tight end that had double-dight touchdowns in a season (Heath Miller’s eight in 2012 is the franchise record). Ebron has an opportunity to be the first if the Steelers use him wisely. 

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