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: Will DeAngelo Williams play another snap for the Pittsburgh Steelers?
This is a straightforward question without a straightforward answer: when it comes right down to it, is DeAngelo Williams ever going to come on the field in a game in a Steelers uniform again? The veteran running back has spent the past two seasons with the team after signing with them in 2015, but he has struggled to find work this year.
While he struggled with injuries in 2016, Williams had a very good 2015 season with the team in quite a bit of starting duty, rushing for over 900 yards and tying for the league lead in rushing touchdowns. He seemed to drop off somewhat last year, but one might wonder what role injuries might have played.
The former first-round pick missed a substantial portion of the regular season with a knee injury that he ended up getting cleaned up during the regular season, and it’s not clear how long he might have played with it leading up to that. He did have an impressive rushing performance in the season opener, and strong moments after that, but he received such limited playing time behind Le’Veon Bell.
There are two issues here standing in the way between a reunion, however. One is whether or not the Steelers think he has enough tread left on the tires to make it worth bringing Williams back, now that he has made it clear after his wrestling stint that he intends to play.
The other is the fact that they have already worked to replace him, drafting James Conner and adding Knile Davis in free agency. Conner is obviously going to make the roster, but even if Davis is not, there is still Fitzgerald Toussaint, as well.
One component to this question that has to be considered is this: health. If the Steelers run into injuries, could Williams be waiting by the phone? If Bell suffers an injury, for example, that will keep him out a few weeks, would they bring in Williams rather than entrust the starting role to a rookie or a journeyman?