With the 2018 season completely in the books and 2019 staring us down just around the corner, it’s time to pause and take stock of the current state of the Pittsburgh Steelers by looking at their roster as it stands now, going position by position.
The new league year officially begins on March 13, and coincides with the start of free agency. Between now and then, the Steelers figure to make a couple more decisions about what the roster will look like, including the signing of a couple more of their pending unrestricted free agents. There are a few other loose ends to tie up before then as well.
Position: Interior Offensive Line
Total Positional Figure: 7
Ramon Foster: The 2018 season was one of Foster’s strongest, and he played healthy all season. But he’s 33 and set to become a free agent, with a possible heir apparent already on the roster in B.J. Finney.
Maurkice Pouncey: In similar fashion, Pouncey has his best season since he broke his leg in 2014, and it resulted in him returning to the All-Pro team for the first time since then. He is entering the final year of his contract, so is due for an extension.
David DeCastro: The Steelers’ best and most talented offensive lineman, DeCastro continue to show it in 2018, though he unjustly did not make the All-Pro hist for a fourth straight year. He suffered a hand injury in the season opener that cost him two games but returned no worse for the wear.
Matt Feiler: Though he’s spent the past two regular seasons at tackle, he has mostly worked as a guard over the course of his Steelers tenure. Due to tackle depth the team now has, he will likely be at guard more in 2019.
B.J. Finney: The Steelers’ top reserve, he has multiple starts under his belt at each interior offensive line position. If the team does not re-sign Foster, Finney will be the one to enter the starting lineup at left guard, where he has been most successful.
R.J. Prince: A 2018 college free agent, the team worked Prince up and down the line and carried him on the practice squad all year. He could be a sleeper in 2019.
Patrick Morris: Another 2018 college free agent, Morris similarly spent the year on the practice squad. Both of them were minicamp tryout invites, and both made it not just to the offseason roster, not just to the practice squad, but to 2019.
Offseason Strategy: Re-sign Foster, extend Pouncey, weigh Finney’s future.
While retaining Foster would be in the Steelers’ best short-term interests, they know he is not a long-term answer at his age, having already been here for a decade. Is Finney your new full-time player? If so, and he starts now, then you need to address the depth along the interior, particularly at center. Feiler and be guard swing guard, but he can’t be trusted to back up Pouncey.