The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Should the Steelers pursue street free agent Eric Weddle?
As you read on here yesterday, the Baltimore Ravens released 34-year-old safety Eric Weddle yesterday after spending the past three seasons with the organization and playing an instrumental role in stabilizing not just their secondary, but the entire defensive unit.
Weddle is clearly on the wrong side of his career and is arguably entering a decline. He recorded a career-low three passes defensed in 2018, with zero interceptions or fumbles forced, only the second time in his 12-year career that he failed to produce a single turnover.
The Steelers talked about consciously pursuing playmakers on defense this offseason. Weddle didn’t make many plays in 2018. But he recorded 10 interceptions and three forced fumbles in his first two seasons with the Ravens in 2016 and 2017, posting his second- and third-most interceptions in a single season in his career during those years.
One feather in his cap is his health. He hasn’t missed a game since 2015, his last year in San Diego. And the last time he missed a game before that was back in 2009. Antonio Brown was still at Central Michigan University at that time.
But are the Steelers looking for a safety? They presumably already have their starters in Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds. Davis settled down in his new role at free safety late in the year and Edmunds is coming off his rookie season. Do you really want to demote one of them to bring in a guy to play for maybe one or two years?
Whether or not that’s worth doing depends on what type of player you’re getting. It’s unquestionable that he would be great in the locker room and has always been a strong communicator, but can he make a difference on the field at age 34? And how close is the defense to being championship-worthy? Personally I don’t think they’re a safety away.