It’s been a crazy 2019 season so far for Pittsburgh Steelers veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief as he’s gone from being the team’s starting X receiver to barely playing at all in a matter of just a few weeks. After being listed as one of the Steelers seven inactive players for the Week 3 road game against the San Francisco 49ers, Moncrief was dressed for the Monday night home game against the Cincinnati Bengals and even played a few snaps during that contest. Moncrief, however, wasn’t targeted Monday night.
On Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if Moncrief is doing anything to get back into the mix offensively for the team.
“He is,” Tomlin said. “He’s working extremely hard at practice. He had an opportunity to have a helmet on again in the last game. He only got three plays, but I just like his attitude and his work, and we’ll keep working to see if an opportunity presents itself. And more importantly than that, if it presents itself, is his level of readiness when it presents itself. Because you don’t have to be in this thing a long time to realize that the boomerang comes back around, and he needs to be ready for it when it does.”
Moncrief was discussed quite a bit this past weekend even after being inactive against the 49ers and that’s mainly because fans of the team now want him cut immediately so that the Steelers can recover the a 2020 third-round compensatory draft pick they lost on Friday when the Philadelphia Eagles cut linebacker L.J. Fort. If the Steelers cut Moncrief by Week 10, they should be able to salvage that recently lost compensatory draft pick.
The Steelers dressed six wide receivers in total Monday night against the Bengals and that only happened because tight end Vance McDonald missed the game with a shoulder injury. Should McDonald ultimately be healthy enough to play on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, there’s a good chance that Moncrief will find himself back on the inactive list once again.
As for as the boomerang possibly coming back around for Moncrief soon, such an occurrence seems like it might can only be a result of an injury happening to one of the team’s top three wide receivers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Washington. Should such a sad scenario develop, the hope is that Moncrief wouldn’t drop the returning boomerang like he has five passes thrown his way so far this season.
Will Moncrief stay on the Steelers 53-man roster for now? It certainly looks like it. After all, while Moncrief only played three offensive snaps Monday night that’s three more than fellow wide receiver Ryan Switzer has played the last two weeks and he was active for both games. Switzer only plays in the slot while Moncrief could play all three wide receiver positions in a pinch.
If, however, the Steelers find themselves out of the playoff picture by Week 10, Moncrief will surely be jettisoned by the compensatory deadline, one would think. He might be gone sooner than that if the Steelers believe current practice squad wide receiver Tevin Jones can begin contributing. In short, Moncrief might ultimately become the boomerang with no chance of coming back around. The Steelers might also currently be scouting the practice squads of other teams in search of a possibly replacement for Moncrief.