Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for 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 move forward.
Player: S Sean Davis
Stock Value: Down
Continuing the thread of obvious evaluations, we saw Sean Davis’ value plummet this week after he suffered a torn labrum that landed him on the Reserve/Injured List following a tackle attempt in the game against the Seattle Seahawks.
It was something like the fourth or fifth unique injury that the fourth-year safety suffered in 2019, going all the way back to OTAs, which he missed the majority of with a hamstring issue. He had a finger laceration in training camp, followed by an ankle injury that kept him out of the season opener. He then left the Week Two contest twice.
While head coach Mike Tomlin would not definitely rule out Davis for the remainder of the season, the team’s acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick, for whom they gave up a first-round draft pick, cements the fact that he will not return to the starting lineup, ever, for the Steelers, at least barring some unforeseen development.
The team now has their starting free safety and starting strong safety under their control for at least the remainder of the 2019 season and through the 2021 season, with the option of exercising fifth-year options on both of them to extend their control through 2022.
Davis entered this season, his second working at free safety, looking to solidify himself as a legitimate starter and potential splash player as he prepared to hit unrestricted free agency in 2020, a reality he was prepared to face, even though he told reporters he would like to stay in Pittsburgh.
The acquisition of Fitzpatrick killed any potential for that to happen, barring the event that his market value plummets so dramatically that he has to sign far cheaper than anticipated. With the resurrection of the safety market in 2019, even considering his circumstances, I don’t expect that to happen.
He will, however, make substantially less than he otherwise could have, given that he is going to miss at least the majority of his contract year, if not all of it, and even assuming that he does return to play, he will be reduced to a sub-package player. It will be rather difficult to increase his market value in such a role, as should go without saying.