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: Joe Haden
Experience: 10 Years
There are not a ton of cornerbacks who make it to 10 years in the NFL, let alone 10 years as a starter, but here we are with Joe Haden, who just completed his second season in Pittsburgh after spending most of his career with the Cleveland Browns, who originally graded him in the first round in 2010.
Haden’s signing was a critical move for a Steelers secondary that was absolutely starving for an influx of talent, and he has largely been able to solidify one half of the field for Pittsburgh, of critical importance given the instability present on the other side.
After having been acquired only in August in 2017, Haden had a full offseason for this past year, and it showed in his improvements within the defensive scheme. While he had a couple of head-scratching performances, such as his being worked over a few times by Emmanuel Sanders against the Denver Broncos, it was a strong year for the former Pro Bowler that culminated in an interception of Tom Brady in the red zone in a huge win over the New England Patriots.
However, the flip side of that came just a week later in New Orleans, when he was flagged for two critical defensive pass interference penalties. The first came early in the game on a fourth-down play that would have given Pittsburgh the ball but instead gave the Saints first and goal.
While that penalty was universally recognized as poor, he had a later penalty on fourth down that could have ended the game. There were questions about that one, but it was the right call, and it allowed the Saints’ game-winning drive to continue.
Still, he is clearly the team’s best cornerback, and there is no question that he will play through the final year of his three-year contract. I’m not sure if they plan on giving him an extension, but any suggestion that he could be a financial casualty that you might have read out there is very, very wrong.