The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2016 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Never the less, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Lawrence Timmons
Position: Inside Linebacker
Experience: 10 Years
He isn’t perhaps the top dog at the inside linebacker position, but Lawrence Timmons still goes first thanks to his seniority. Having just completed his 10th season, it is interesting to consider that the former first-round draft pick is actually still just 30 years old, though he will turn 31 before the start of the 2017 season.
Timmons has been an ironman for the bulk of his career, having not missed a game since the 2009 season, the year in which he became a full-time starter. And he still had a productive season, with a force fumble, two interceptions, and two and a half sacks, not to mention another two sacks in the postseason.
While there has been some dropoff in his performance in recent years, I do think the decline has been dramatized somewhat. He has missed more tackles than he did a few years ago. He’s lost a half a step in coverage, and yet still remains a rangy sideline-to-sideline player. There are issues to be dealt with, but they are not debilitating drawbacks that prevent him from starting.
The Steelers appear to feel that way as well, or so it would seem, as they are reportedly already entering contract negotiations with the pending free agent. While I fully expect the deal to get done prior to the start of free agency, I will be very interested to see what the terms of the deal end up being and how that reflects how they value him as he enters his 30s.
The defense has dabbled over the course of the past two seasons with the dime defense, and Timmons has usually been the one to come off the field in those instances, but it hasn’t been used much at all overall, nor lately.
I speculated while writing about Timmons’ future last year whether or not the team might start using a rotation at his spot the way they did with James Farrior at the end of his career. I still think that is a legitimate query entering the 2017 season with Vince Williams in the mix for playing time, a player that they do undoubtedly like. It’s not often that they extend contracts for players who are not starters.