Steelers sign red zone target, Justin Hunter

The Steelers have moved gingerly in free agency yet the signing of Justin Hunter is intriguing due to his red zone prowess and break away speed.

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Nov 27, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Justin Hunter (17) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the second half at New Era Field. The Bills won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Justin Hunter (17) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the second half at New Era Field. The Bills won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

In just their first out-of-house move, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Justin Hunter to a one-year contract. Although the monetary value of the contract is yet to go public, the Steelers now add an extremely low-risk, high-reward threat in Hunter.

The 6-foot-4-inch tall Hunter only had 10 grabs last season yet four of them went for touchdowns. Quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger has to like Hunter’s size for the red zone and his alleged 4.4 second 40-yard-dash speed for an after-the-catch threat.


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Although Hunter has played for three different teams in the last two seasons, he once was the 34th-overall selection for the Tennessee Titans in 2013. Since Hunter will be pairing up with the best quarterback he has seen in Roethlisberger, the Steelers are hoping he may now see his full potential.

The move now puts eight receivers on the Steelers’ roster and gives Pittsburgh a backup plan for Martavis Bryant, depending on what the NFL decides. The move also may motivate Sammie Coates to become what they once thought he would.

According to ESPN staff writer, Jeremy Fowler, the move carries limited risk; Mike Tomlin most assuredly likes the sound of that. In Hunter’s 48 games he has played, he has 78 receptions for just over 1,300 yards to go with 12 touchdowns.

How Hunter fares in this high-powered offense is yet to be witnessed as he will have to battle the other hungry receivers. However if the speedy receiver fits in well and realizes his full potential this move could be a home run for the black and yellow.

Justin Ekstrom covers the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers for cover32, be sure to follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

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