Now that we have completed our look at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 90-man roster heading into training camp a bit under a month from now, it’s time to take a look back at the team’s 53-man roster from last year’s regular season, for the purpose of revisiting the contributions of the players that are no longer with the team, and whether or not those contributions have been adequately replaced.
Roster turnover is just a natural fact of today’s NFL, which have only become more prominent since the advent of free agency more than two decades ago. It’s very rare for a team to return all 11 starters on one side of the ball from one year to the next, let alone to do so for both the offense and defense.
The Steelers are certainly no exception to that rule, and they figure to have a number of lineup changes from 2015 to 2016, which seems to be increasingly common for them in recent years.
Byron Stingily, admittedly, was not exactly a key cog in the Steelers’ machinery last season—he was signed six games already into the season, and he never dressed for a game—but he was part of Pittsburgh’s offensive tackle depth, which had trickled low enough to get to such a critical level that they found themselves looking for help around that time.
Originally a 2011 sixth-round pick of the Mike Munchak-led Titans, Stingily was inactive during his rookie season, but over the course of the next three seasons he dressed for 20 games and started nine of them, including five games during the 2014 season, which was the year after Munchak was fired, and subsequently signed by the Steelers to coach their offensive line.
Munchak, however, was just one connection that the Steelers had to Stingily, as they also had his brother on their offseason roster: running back Cameron Stingily. Originally signed as a rookie tryout player, he suffered a knee injury in the first preseason game that resulted in being waived injured, but he won another offseason roster spot in 2016 with another tryout.
His brother will not be joining him, however, because Byron Stingily was signed by the Giants, where the 6’5”, 320-pounder will serve as a reserve lineman and emergency starter as he had here. Perhaps if he had actually been with the team during training camp, he would have been active for the Steelers rather than Chris Hubbard.
Pittsburgh is not looking to be put in such a vulnerable position again, however, as they have bolstered their offensive line depth, with Alejandro Villanueva returning at the top of the left tackle depth chart and bringing in veteran Ryan Harris to compete with him for the spot.
They also drafted underclassman Jerald Hawkins in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, though while they would prefer to have the opportunity to groom him, they likely would dress him if necessary, should an injury arise. They have typically been only three-deep at tackle in recent years, so that is a change.