The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the 2019 season much as they did the 2018 season, by allowing their playoff fate slip out of their grasp. Slow starts and slow finishes permeated both campaigns, with strong runs in between. But while the results were the same missing the playoffs, the means were quite different.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we. But that they still managed to go 8-8 without Ben Roethlisberger, and with the general quality of play that they faced along the way, I suppose things could have been worse.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2018 season.
Player: Nick Vannett
Position: Tight End
Experience: 4 Years
Nick Vannett has only been a Steeler for a handful of months. It’s not definite that his tenure within the organization will expand much further beyond that, truth be told. Acquired after Week Three of the 2019 season via trade, sending a fifth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks, the former Buckeye is currently slated to become an unrestricted free agent in a few weeks’ time.
A former third-round pick, Vannett was a player whom the Steelers had been eying in the draft when he came out, and they kept themselves abreast of his career as well. After Xavier Grimble was injured, and they were left with only raw rookie Zach Gentry (with Vance McDonald also nicked up at the time), they pulled the trigger on the trade, giving up frankly more than he was worth.
But they felt it was worth it in-context given the injury need, and they likely also felt that they would be able to retain him. Did he play like somebody worth retaining?
Well, it obviously would not be as a number one tight end. While he may be able to do more as a receiver than he has been asked to do throughout his professional career (one may be able to look at McDonald to see a tight end who can deliver more later on in his career than what was asked), he profiles as a number two who can do a little bit of catching, but is primarily a blocker.
And in that phase of the game, he is…okay. Far from great, but far from bad, as well. Could they sign a better blocker in free agency? It’s not unlikely. One does have to consider, however, the circumstances of his having come over mid-year while having to learn a new offense and a new system.
Vannett has seemed to quite enjoy his time in Pittsburgh and would appreciate being able to stay put. I wouldn’t expect him to cost overly much, but this could be an offseason in which every penny counts, so they can’t commit too much to a number two tight end.