Player: Byron Stingily
Position: Offensive Tackle
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2015 Salary Cap Hit: $482,059
2015 Season Breakdown: The signing of Byron Stingily became an unfortunate mid-season necessity after the Steelers lost starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum to an ACL tear, which thrust their green reserve swing tackle, first-year player Alejandro Villanueva, in the starting lineup. With offensive line depth at the tackle position suddenly paper thin, the team simply needed a body out there for emergencies, and Stingily was the most comfortable option.
A big part of that comfort? He was a 2011 sixth-round draft pick of the Titans—meaning that he was a draft pick of Mike Munchak, who at the time that Tennessee’s head coach after spending a long time as their offensive line coach—after a Hall of Fame career as their starting guard.
Munchak is now, of course, the Steelers’ offensive line coach, but he was able to spend three seasons with Stingily, and thus had plenty of familiarity with him. It was a similar situation to when the Steelers under Sean Kugler signed Jonathan Scott, who played under Kugler with the Bills.
Stingily came to the Steelers having spent time active for 20 games over the previous three seasons, including nine total starts. He started five games in 2014 for the Titans—during which, of course, they earned the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Titans re-signed Stingily in March of last year to a two-year, $2.25 million contract, but he did not make the final 53-man roster after Tennesee rebuilt their offensive tackle depth, including a player that they drafted in the third round in 2015.
Despite his familiarity with Munchak—and yes, he is the brother of Cameron Stingily, a running back the Steelers had in training camp—Stingily was unable to secure the swing tackle position for himself. despite spending 10 games on the 53-man roster, plus two postseason games, he spent all of them on the inactive list, with the Steelers choosing to favor Chris Hubbard for that role due to his experience in the system.
Free Agency Outlook: Though Pittsburgh seems poised to lose Beachum in free agency—not yet a guarantee by any means, it’s not immediately obvious that the team would be interested in retaining Stingily after he spent his entire tenure with the team on the inactive list.
The Steelers have already added two tackles as Reserve/Future players, including one who spent all of the season on the practice squad. More notably, they will be getting back Mike Adams, who, if healthy, figures to be the most logical choice to return as the team’s swing tackle, which has been his primary role during his tenure in Pittsburgh.
Generally, over the past few years, the Steelers have been more likely to carry only three tackles on the 53-man roster, content to carry a fourth tackle on the practice squad, while retaining a Swiss Army Knife-type of player who can play both inside and outside in a pinch. If they believe that Hubbard can be that player, it makes it only all the more likely that Stingily is not in their 2016 plans.