Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: S J.J. Wilcox
Stock Value: Down
Could it possibly be anything else? While it was nice for him early on that the Steelers cut Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden instead of himself and his $3 million and change base salary in 2018, Pittsburgh only followed that up by signing Morgan Burnett and Nat Berhe.
And then over the course of the past three days they drafted two more safeties that are virtual shoe-ins to make the roster, using a first-round selection on Terrell Edmunds and going back to the position finding good value in the fifth round with Marcus Allen.
Throw in Sean Davis, who has been a starter in the past year and a half, and you already have five safeties. I honestly can’t even remember a time that the Steelers have ever at any point carried more than five true safeties on the roster.
I think it’s very likely that Wilcox’s days are numbered, similar to quarterback Zach Mettenberger last year when the team drafted Joshua Dobbs. Mettenberger was released just a few days after the draft was over, and Wilcox might receive the same treatment.
Not that it should be an indication of disrespect. It’s something that the Steelers prefer to do with veteran players that they know are not in their plans. With Pittsburgh’s offseason moves, it’s clear that there is no immediate defensive role for Wilcox.
Add in the fact that he was benched on special teams last year and that all five of the other safeties mentioned do or will play on special teams, and the $3 million price tag for an at-best fourth-string safety just looks foolish.
Barring something dreadfully unforeseen, I would be floorerd if Wilcox is on the Steelers’ 53-man roster come September, and I might even be mildly surprised if he is still on the team by the start of OTAs.
For those wondering about his trade value, I’m doubting that he has much of any. The Steelers got him for peanuts last year and his value has obviously taken a hit since then, hardly being used in Pittsburgh after struggling on the field, being benched both defensively and on special teams and ending the season as a healthy scratch.