The Pittsburgh Steelers have a major set challenges facing them for the offseason of 2019 after they managed to miss the postseason for the first time in five years. The failure has been taken especially grievously because of the fact that the team was in position to control their own fate even for homefield advantage with six games remaining before dropping four games.
And so they find themselves getting the exit meeting process underway at least two weeks earlier than they have had to in years, since they have made it to at least the Divisional Round since 2015. Hopefully they used those extra two weeks with purpose.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2018 season.
Player: Marcus Gilbert
Experience: 8 Years
I could be writing about a couple of different names in this spot, but I think the right one to talk about here is Marcus Gilbert, the eight-year veteran right tackle, in spite of the fact that he failed to play in the majority of the 2018 season due to injury. It’s the second year in a row in which he missed at least half of the season.
Matt Feiler, who had never started a meaningful game at tackle and only played a handful of snaps there prior to this season, was the Steelers’ primary right tackle this past year because of all the time that Gilbert missed, but the plan going forward seems to be to retain Gilbert.
When he did play, however, he was his usual self, with a performance that is worthy of consideration for the Pro Bowl yet an availability that has continued to put that accolade out of his reach, even while his bookend, Alejandro Villanueva, has been able to earn the honor in the past two seasons while hardly missing a snap.
Still, there is a very real question about his future being 2019, which is the final year of his current contract. He has only played three of eight seasons in which he has missed fewer than three games, and he has missed the majority of the season three times.
With Feiler proving himself and Chukwuma Okorafor among others in the pipeline, it’s unlikely that Gilbert is retained beyond 2019, let alone signed to an extension this fall. He can still play and play at a high level if available, but, provided that Shaun Sarrett can develop them, they have more affordable alternatives.