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: K Chris Boswell
Stock Value: Up
It’s not always necessarily the most exciting thing in the world to talk about the specialist positions in football, but it’s an essential part of the game as well. I don’t think the 2017 and 2018 seasons could better illustrate that than any other two-year period in recent memory.
Kicker Chris Boswell was a Pro Bowler in 2017, chosen over Justin Tucker. That’s because he came up in the clutch several times and won important games for a 13-win team. A year later, his performance cost them a couple of games, or prevented him from getting back into games. They won nine games and did not reach the postseason.
That was after he missed 12 total kicks, including seven field goals on 20 attempts. This year, he had arguably the best season of his career, irrespective of the significance of individual kicks. He posted his highest field goal percentage, for one thing, making 29 of 31 attempts, and he was also perfect on extra point attempts for only the second time in his career, though he only attempted 28. He was one of just two kickers in the NFL this year who missed only two total kicks.
This season, the Steelers asked Boswell to kick short of the goal line on kickoffs more frequently. After being over 50 percent (usually over 60 percent) on touchbacks, he only sent 43 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks this year.
Boswell is two years into a long-term contract that runs through the next three seasons. On March 20, he will trigger a $1 million roster bonus. I don’t think he has any worry of being released this time around. This is the final season of his contract in which there are any more bonuses to trigger. He will have a cap hit of about $3.6 million