Pittsburgh Steelers Sign Breakout XFL Star

The Pittsburgh Steelers have added an x-factor to their receiving corps. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the team has signed wide receiver and XFL breakout star Hakeem Butler to a one-year contract.

Butler hauled in 51 receptions for 599 yards over nine appearances with the St. Louis Battlehawks during the 2022 XFL season, both second-most in the league.

Butler is a big-bodied pass catcher with solid speed (4.48 40-yard dash) and a long, sturdy frame (6'5", 227 lbs). He was productive over 34 appearances in college, hauling in 110 receptions for 2149 yards with the Iowa State Cyclones.

Unfortunately, Butler previously flamed out quickly in the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals picked him 103rd overall in the 2019 NFL Draft and waived him the following preseason. He was last seen in the NFL in 2021 with the Philadelphia Eagles, who flirted with converting him from wide receiver to tight end. He struggled regardless of team or position, failing to log a regular-season catch.

Still just barely 27 years old, Butler will now have a chance to reignite his pro career with the organization perhaps most adept at developing wide receivers in all of the NFL. If he can endear himself to the coaching staff, he'll have a chance to carve out a role similar to the one Chase Claypool occupied before being traded to the Chicago Bears. 

That's a big if. Butler won't likely be guaranteed a roster spot, let alone significant reps. Still, if the Steelers hit the jackpot, Butler's huge catching radius and overpowering style could provide a much-needed complement to the underneath game of Diontae Johnson and the outside field-stretching of George Pickens.

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