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: Anthony Chickillo
Experience: 5 Years
The Steelers drafted Anthony Chickillo in the sixth round in the same season that they made Bud Dupree their first-round pick, in 2015. While Dupree played the 2019 season under his exercised fifth-year option, Chickillo was signed to a new two-year contract that was signed last offseason.
It is, however, widely anticipated that he will not see the second year of the deal, which is becoming increasingly common for the Steelers, both for their own players and especially for players that they signed as free agents.
Chickillo has a cap hit of over $6 million on the books for 2020, but they can clear $5 million by releasing him. He is scheduled to earn a base salary of $4.5 million, and he is also due a $500,000 roster bonus. He did nothing in 2019 to suggest that he would be worth that price tag.
In fact, he played his fewest snaps defensively last season since his rookie season, amassing just 143 snaps. He has been trending closer to double that in the three years preceding this one past. He registered just 19 tackles, none for a loss, with half a sack and one quarterback hit.
He was also limited to just 11 games. That was due in part to the fact that he spent some time on the Commissioner’s Exempt List after a midseason arrest after getting into a public confrontation with his fiancée. While charges were later dropped and they worked everything out between themselves, it was widely thought he might be released then, though the team would bring him back.
They cannot, however, afford to pay him $5 million this season, especially given their salary cap bind. His release is one of the easiest moves that they could possibly have available to them. Even when he signed the two-year, $8 million deal, many believed he would not see the second year.