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: Javon Hargrave
Position: Defensive Tackle
Experience: 3 Years
When the Steelers used their first three draft picks in 2016 on defensive players—first a cornerback, then a safety, than a nose tackle—and they all played right away, people started to feel very encouraged about the future of the defense.
Unfortunately it hasn’t been all roses and sunshine for those three players since then. Artie Burns was benched, Sean Davis continues to battle inconsistency (and being moved to different positions doesn’t help). Javon Hargrave, however, is coming off of his best season.
The third-year interior defender is legitimately becoming one of the ascending players at his position around the league, both as a pass rusher and as a run defender. What he lacks in size he makes up for in athleticism and technical details, hand-work in particular.
With a career-high 49 tackles to go along with six and a half sacks, Hargrave’s numbers have never looked better, but they also translate well on the eye test. Interestingly enough, even though he had three sacks in his first six games, he was a more effective pass-rusher over the final 10 games in terms of generating pressure.
Hargrave saw additional playing time this season as the defense began to trust him more and more as a nickel defender, which is their base defense. I can only presume that this will continue into 2019, since they certainly are not going to play more 3-4 fronts.
The big question this offseason though is what he’s worth. The former third-rounder is due for a contract extension later this offseason and he has certainly played well enough to be entitled to one, but it will be about settling on a price, taking his playing time into consideration—not to mention the investment already in place there among other high-priced players.