The Pittsburgh Steelers have prematurely entered offseason mode, during which we are already discussing who they will give Reserve/Future contracts to and what their future plans are. Some have already mentally fired Mike Tomlin, Todd Haley, Keith Butler, Joey Porter, and Carnell Lake, and hired James Harrison as a player-coach so he won’t count against the salary cap. Joe Haden has also moved to safety to get rid of Mike Mitchell, replaced with Cameron Sutton and/or Brian Allen.
Ah, the offseason. It’s such a magical time. And everybody is convinced that they know what they are talking about and what is best for each team. Every outlet has its own take on what every team needs to be doing from here on out. It’s not as though we’re immune to this, though. It’s the season of speculation.
Yesterday, Sam Monson at Pro Football Focus published a piece on what he believes the biggest needs are for every team heading into the 2018 offseason, although there are still four teams who are still playing—the Steelers sadly not being one of them.
Perhaps he missed Ben Roethlisberger saying after Sunday’s game that he plans to return, or yesterday’s article from a certain local paper that claims Roethlisberger has privately told people he wants to keep playing for at least three more seasons.
Nevertheless, quarterback tops their list of needs, even though Roethlisberger was their third-graded quarterback for the season, and probably their highest-graded quarterback of the second half of the year.
“Ben Roethlisberger has been making noise about retirement for a while now”, Monson writes, “and Landry Jones is nobody’s quarterback of the future, so the Steelers need to look to the draft for a new apprentice at the position”.
This is of course rendered moot if Roethlisberger plays for three more years, or even beyond. You don’t want the future of your franchise to sit on the bench for three years unless it’s Aaron Rodgers, and nobody else is Aaron Rodgers but Rodgers.
The edge defender was the other need mentioned in the piece. “Pittsburgh has been looking for edge rushers for years”, it reads, “and it looks like they have finally found one in the form of T.J. Watt, who had 40 total pressures from 298 pass-rushes in the regular season”.
But Monson goes on, saying, “in today’s NFL, you can never have enough edge-rushing talent, though, and every outside linebacker on that roster outside of Watt still struggles to generate pressure”. He mentions a name close to Dave Bryan’s heart, Shaquille Barrett, saying that he “is a restricted free agent but could prove tempting for teams if he gets the right tender. Barrett had 14 combined sacks and hits this season despite struggling through injury”.