According to "sources" (per ESPN Chicago), Matt Spaeth agreed to terms with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday. Spaeth joins the likes of Larry Foote and William Gay as players who have elected to return to Pittsburgh after some time away. He was released by the Bears a few days ago for financial reasons.
Drafted in the third round in 2007, Spaeth never made a huge impact in Pittsburgh aside from the odd touchdown catch once or twice in the first month of the season. In 2011, he walked as a free agent and no one in Pittsburgh really thought about him after that.
Given Heath Miller's recuperation from a knee injury in Week 17 last year, Spaeth is ostensibly going to start the season, or at least training camp, as the team's #1 tight end. Don't expect him to get too involved in the passing game, as the young/injury-prone starting tackles will be Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams. Spaeth (and David Johnson) will probably help with blocking duties more often than not.
So what did Spaeth learn in his time away from Pittsburgh? I got in touch with Brett Solesky of Midway Illustrated to give the rundown on the guy.
I would say he struggled as a blocker his first year in Chicago but had the best year of his career as a blocker last year. He really improved in year two and became a stabilizing force wherever he was. I think working with Mike Tice really helped him grow as a player. Tice is known for his ability as an offensive line coach, but Tice played TE in the NFL and was a TE coach in Jacksonville so he worked on blocking with the TEs in Chicago. I don't know if I would call Spaeth a great blocker, but his improvement was obvious. I think Profootballfocus rated him as the best run blocker amongst TEs this past season. He could become a real nemesis for Terrell Suggs. Decent in pass protection very good run blocker.
There you have it. Spaeth is what he is; a spare lineman who can catch a football now and then. This is the sort of depth signing the Steelers needed to make, given Heath Miller's status and the relatively untested offensive line.no comments