The season might not quite be over for another couple of days, but 30 teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, have already hit offseason mode following their elimination, either prior to or during the playoffs. Pittsburgh got quite far this year, reaching the AFC Championship game for the first time since 2010
But before we get too deep into the offseason, it’s time to take a look at the Steelers’ roster as it appears to be shaping up as we look ahead to 2017.
As with almost every other team, the Steelers have already made some roster tweaks, signing several players to Reserve/Futures contracts, tenders, and other sorts of contract, , so here is a position-by-position look at how the team looks heading into the offseason.
Total Positional Figure: 6
Mike Mitchell: Opinions about Mike Mitchell remain mixed three years into the five-year deal that he signed with the Steelers a few years ago. He was able to quell the backlash some in 2015 as he picked off three passes and forced a couple of fumbles, but his stat sheet wasn’t as impressive this year. He did get his hand on 10 passes including a pick, and he recorded his first sack as a Steelers in the playoffs. He is entering his 10th season this year and will turn 30.
Sean Davis: It’s not every year that the Steelers find a defensive starter as a rookie, and when they have, it hasn’t always been earned. Sean Davis earned his way into the lineup and played well, though he is not a finished product by any means. He made several plays last season, but left a number on the field as well. Developing consistency will be key for him this offseason.
Robert Golden: Signed a modest three-year deal last spring, Robert Golden entered the 2016 season as a starter, but lost the job about halfway through the year, and struggled to find time as a third safety. Jordan Dangerfield even took some snaps over him. Still, I consider him valuable depth.
Jordan Dangerfield: A long-time training camp presence, Dangerfield finally made the 53-man roster this past year and even started some games, playing pretty well, I might add. He is a strong special-teams player and showed that he can be counted upon on defense.
Shamarko Thomas: The latter of which cannot be said of Shamarko Thomas. A former fourth-round pick whom the Steelers traded away a third-rounder to take, Thomas has never developed into the defensive player that they thought he was, but he is a very good special-teams contributor. Still, it’s unclear if they have interest in bringing him back.
Jacob Hagen: Jacob Hagen may be becoming the next Jordan Dangerfield, a big safety who is becoming a training-camp regular with no 53-man roster experience to show for it. The big safety did spend much of the year on the practice squad.
Offseason Strategy: Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure how the Steelers view the safety position. As I was writing this, however, I couldn’t help but wonder what lies upon the horizon. Mitchell only has two years left on his contract and will be turning 30. Is he going to be their starter at 32 on a second contract in Pittsburgh? If not, would it be unreasonable to get an apprentice now?