While Pittsburgh Steelers fans are primarily focusing on three players this year in free agency—Bud Dupree, Javon Hargrave, and B.J. Finney, in that order—there are some other relatively high-profile names with pedigree behind them who are also scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in March when the new league year gets underway.
Such as the other two top picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, with Hargrave being the third-round pick at that time. First up was Artie Burns in the first round. After hardly playing the past two years, the cornerback has already admitted that he is looking to sign somewhere else for a fresh start.
The situation with second-round pick Sean Davis is more complicated, but the result figures to be the same. The Steelers have already moved on at his position of safety, with a pair of 2018 first-round picks starting there. Terrell Edmunds was their own pick, and they traded for 2019 first-team All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick back in September.
“I’d love to come back and play for Pittsburgh”, Davis told Jacob Klinger back in December. “It’s an awesome spot. All the other players that come from different teams always say there’s no place like Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s genuine, it’s a good place to play”.
His fourth season was marked by injuries. He didn’t participate much in the offseason because of it, and that resulted in Kameron Kelly starting in his place in the season opener. He returned for Week Two, but then suffered a shoulder injury that landed him on injured reserve. That’s when the Steelers traded for Fitzpatrick.
Despite losing out on his starting job in Pittsburgh due to his injury and the team moving in to replace him, Davis isn’t looking to bargain-hunt in free agency, saying that a one-year contract, a so-called ‘prove-it’ deal, is “not really a part of my plan”.
“I know that if I have to I can just because I know what type of person I am and I’ll be in a different situation, a different environment, so I’d just have to let my play speak for itself because it really wouldn’t be any comfort in a one-year spot”, he said, indicating an awareness that he won’t be back in Pittsburgh.
While many Steelers fans have long turned against him, it’s quite likely that there are many teams around the league who do view him as a starting safety, whether they will be interested in him when he becomes available or not.
Davis’ best season was in year two. In 2017, he recorded 92 tackles, including seven for a loss, with a sack, a forced fumble, and three interceptions, with eight passes defensed. He was playing strong safety at the time, but was moved to free safety for 2018. He played just 55 snaps in one game in 2019, registering five tackles.