The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: When will the Steelers add another safety or two to their 90-man offseason roster?
If you went ahead and took a look at the Steelers’ roster right now, you might be surprised to notice just how impoverished the safety position is right now in terms of sheer numbers. The same cannot be said of inside linebacker, in case that’s what you were thinking.
Right now, the Steelers have just six safeties on the roster, and they often, particularly in recent years, go into the regular season with that number of safeties on the 53-man roster. Just last season was such a year, during which they had Mike Mitchell, Robert Golden, Shamarko Thomas, Jordan Dangerfield, and rookie Sean Davis.
Pittsburgh has retained all of those safeties sans Thomas, and have also carried over former undrafted free agent Jacob Hagen from the practice squad. They also added Pittsburgh safety Terrish Webb as an undrafted free agent after failing to take one in the draft, but that’s it as far as the safeties go, barring a position switch for William Gay, which, while having been given lip service in the past, is not something I would count on right now.
It’s not entirely unprecedented for the early incarnation of a 90-man roster to be somewhat out of proportion with respect to the sort of structure they will need to work with in practice, but it would be pretty surprising if they went into training camp with just five safeties on the roster.
Perhaps they find one that they like soon, either among the rookie minicamp invites or on the veteran free agent market. In a few days, teams will be able to sign players without any impact on the compensatory formula, so we will probably see a handful of signings happen around the league at that time.
They recently reportedly visited with Tre Boston, a former fourth-round pick who spent the past three seasons with the Panthers, but they didn’t sign him, and he was a street free agent who wouldn’t have factored into the formula anyway, so I wouldn’t anticipate his imminent signing either.