Happy Friday to yinz and welcome to the first weekend of the 2019 NFL league year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have already signed a few outside unrestricted free agents since the new league got underway on Wednesday in addition to re-signing a few of their own unrestricted free agents. Across the NFL, signings are starting to slow to a crawl and that’s not overly surprising. By next weekend, free agent signings will really be moving at a snail’s place.
As of Friday night we are still waiting for word that the Steelers have signed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a contract extension. Such a transaction has been expected since the 2018 season ended but a Friday report indicated no extension is imminent. It will be interesting to see what the narrative becomes should the team fail to sign Roethlisberger to an extension before his roster bonus deadline which is up soon.
As usual, I have five questions for yinz to answer on this Friday night and I look forward to reading those in the comments below. Thank you all for visiting the site this past week as we set a record for March. I hope yinz have enjoyed all of the content and we have plenty more on the way this weekend.
Have a safe and prosperous weekend and peace and love to all of yinz.
1 – Combined, what grade would you give the Steelers for their free agent signings of cornerback Steven Nelson on wide receiver Donte Moncrief.
2 – True or false: The Steelers will sign another outside unrestricted free agent that was originally selected in the first three rounds of a draft prior to this year’s 2019 draft.
3 – Will the Steelers release safety Morgan Burnett before this year’s draft?
4 – To date, how many full AAF games have you watched?
5 – Nine total rule changes for the 2019 season were proposed by NFL teams: Which, if any, of these proposed changes do you support?
a – Proposal to allow both teams to have at least one possession in overtime even if the first team possessing the ball scores a TD. Eliminate OT in preseason. Eliminate OT coin toss by giving the winner of initial coin toss the choice of Kick/receiving or which goal to defend. (Chiefs)
b – Provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team trailing in the game to maintain possession of the ball after scoring. (Broncos)
c – Subject all plays that occur during a game to coaches’ challenge by teams or review by the Officiating department in the instant replay system. (Redskins)
d – Add review of personal fouls as reviewable in the instant replay system. (Redskins)
e – Add review of personal fouls whether called or not to be subject to the coaches challenge in the instant replay system. (Chiefs)
f – Add review of designated player safety-related fouls (called or not called on the field) as plays subject to coaches’ challenge in the instant replay system. (Panthers, Rams, Eagles & Seahawks)
g – Add scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system. (Eagles)
h – Add all fourth down plays that are spotted short of the line to gain or goal line to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system. (Broncos)
i – Add all Try attempts (Extra point or Two-point conversion) to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system. (Broncos)
Question 1: Most Steelers Depot respondents opted for one of two players to be the first overall player selected in the 2019 NFL draft: Ohio State Edge Nick Bosa got 50% of the vote & Oklahoma QB Kyler Murphy got 40%. There were three outliers. SRdan gave the nod to Michigan ILB Devin Bush – though he was thinking of the Steelers 20th pick when answering. Applebite named Alabama DT Quinnen Williams. Jeremy likes another quarterback; Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.
Question 2: Looks like a run on free agent tight ends. 70% of respondents say Jesse James will get a deal that averages at least $5 million a season or more. The Detroit Lions signed him, and he signed a 4-year deal well in excess of $20 million. So, he easily exceeded the threshold of this question and left another hole on the roster that needs filling.
Question 3: The compensation might not be what Steelers fans were hoping for, but Antonio Brown was traded to the Raiders for a 3rd & 5th round draft choice in the 2019 draft. Now the question is what happens to the those picks and how will they stack up against Brown’s future performance?
Question 4: If it’s not a rebuilding year; it is at least a reloading year. Half the respondents believe the first outside free agent will be a defensive secondary player. Most said a safety. Linebacker was the next position group that folks saw the Steelers going after a free agent. LB’s Jordan Hicks, Mark Barron & Jamie Collins all were named as was safety Tashaun Gipson. The Steelers signed cornerback Steven Nelson giving FlaFan47, MattSteelCurtain91, Weegie T & Spencer Krick something to crow about.
Question 5: The Steelers should use a 6th round choice to select a punter or kicker according to 2/3rd of Steelers Depot respondents. Most of the sentiment seemed to be that punter was the preferred selection though many believe a kicker is more valuable. Has the Chris Boswell & Jordan Berry tandem run its course?
We got some answers to some questions from previous Fridays this week:
Wildcard Weekend: Steelers Depot asked if the Steelers would trade Antonio Brown prior to paying him his $2.5 million roster bonus. Back in early January, we must have been in a state of denial. 86.4% of respondents believed that the Steelers would not trade Brown prior to paying him his $2.5 million roster bonus due to him in the middle of March. Many of the commenters at the time believed the Steelers & AB would work it out.
Conference Championship weekend: we were asked to predict the team if he was traded in the next 8 weeks. The Nomadic Raiders was the most popular chosen by 27% out of the 18 teams we named as his destination. Brian Tollini & Steeldog22 get an almost atta boy for naming the Buffalo Bills way back then.
1st offseason weekend: Attention shifted to Le’Veon Bell. We were asked to name the team he would sign with during the offseason. Half of the respondents predicted Le’Veon Bell wearing either a Houston Texans or New York Jets uniform next season (24% each). Bell went for the green.
Valentine’s weekend: Dave Bryan asked if AB would be a Pittsburgh Steeler as of March 15. according to 58% of Steelers Depot respondents, Antonio Brown would still be a Pittsburgh Steeler on March 15th. But many believed all bets were off as the NFL draft approached. The minority got this correct. That same weekend, we predicted that before the start of the new league year the Steelers would re-sign Coty Sensabaugh (74% of respondents). There was less confidence in L.T. Walton getting re-signed. Only 45% said that would happen. The new league year began at 4:00PM, Pittsburgh Time, on March 13th. Neither Sensabaugh nor Walton appear on the Steelers rosters though they could be signed at some point in the future.
Pre-combine weekend: 64% of Steelers Depot respondents were bullish on the Steelers getting a first-round draft pick for wide receiver Antonio Brown. Boy, did we get that wrong. Same weekend, we were queried again about AB’s landing spot. This time naming the topo 3. The Raiders with 62 % and the 49ers with 55% were the two landing spots predicted by the respondents. On another question, 67% of respondents believed the Steelers would re-sign tight end Jesse James prior to the start of the new league year. Over 83% of respondents predicted running back Le’Veon Bell would NOT get a contract averaging at least $16 million a season. Finally, L.J. Fort was the middle/lower tier Steelers free agent that we most want to see re-signed. He was mentioned by 74% of respondents. Coty Sensabaugh was mentioned by 38%. We struck out on Jesse and Fort. Yoi.