Now that the 2019 NFL Draft is underway, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: WR Donte Moncrief
Stock Value: Even
The Steelers could have gone crazy if they really wanted to after they traded wide receiver Antonio Brown. Instead, they made two fairly mild additions to the stable, starting with Donte Moncrief in free agency, and then drafting Diontae Johnson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
And given that the drafting of a wide receiver like Johnson in perhaps roughly the place that they drafted him was pretty much the anticipation all along, even after signing Moncrief, I think it would be hard to argue that said acquisition is a negative reflection on his stock value. They merely did what was anticipated.
The Steelers signed Moncrief to a two-year, $9 million contract, which is neither cheap nor exorbitant, so whatever his role ends up being, whether it is as the full-time number two wide receiver across from JuJu Smith-Schuster or a prominent rotational player, shouldn’t really make that much of a difference relative to his compensation.
I certainly don’t think the team brought him in thinking that he was going to be the championship piece to put them over the top after losing Brown. He was just a capable and available veteran who could add something to the mix, contributing in a committee rather than seeking to provide all the answers on his own.
With that being said, he still has the opportunity to somewhat reinvent himself in Pittsburgh. For one thing, he should see the best quarterback play he has ever experienced in his career working with Ben Roethlisberger this year, something that he has acknowledged himself.
There is an opportunity for Moncrief to seize in Pittsburgh, even as he is surrounded by the young ‘potential’ figures like Johnson and second-year James Washington. They will all get their opportunities at some point or another, perhaps even being used situationally. Where the veteran exactly fits in, it’s too early to say. And that’s more or less what we expected at this point in the offseason.