Now that the 2019 season is over, with a team other than ours having been crowned champion and there being much work to do to return to that status, 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 season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
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: ILB Robert Spillane
Stock Value: Up
I’m not sure how many people are even aware that Robert Spillane is on the roster. But the Western Michigan product started to open eyes already during the preseason, which is why he was on the practice squad to begin with.
After Ulysees Gilbert III was placed on injured reserve halfway through the year, the Steelers promoted Spillane to fill his roster spot. Gilbert had by then already developed into a core special teamer, playing a lot of snaps, and Spillane slid right into that role and did even more with it. He recorded 11 tackles in just eight games, including four in one game. Eight of his tackles were solo tackles.
And this was after he started things off with racking up a couple of penalties. At the time, I was wondering if that was going to get him benched, but the Steelers stuck with him and kept giving him a helmet, and he started producing. A guy like that, you might be inclined to keep him on the roster.
And it might make you think twice about re-signing a player like Tyler Matakevich, whom the Steelers have, more or less, already determined that they don’t want playing on defense, even as a backup. Matakevich has been a great special teams player over the past four years, but he is a free agent now.
And if they have two depth linebackers in Gilbert and Spillane whom they feel can be plus contributors to special teams, with the possibility of more positional upside (Gilbert for certain is significantly more athletic), then perhaps they can make that sacrifice.
It could really hinge upon how the market views Matakevich, but players like him certainly can make more than the veteran minimum. He’s obviously worth re-signing if he can be had for the minimum, but if I have Gilbert and Spillane and he’s going to cost me $1.5 million per season or more, I’m definitely thinking twice about how much I need him.