Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, 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: FB Roosevelt Nix
Stock Value: Sold
Technically speaking, he requested his release, but it’s obvious that the Steelers were going to release him anyway. After five years with the team, Roosevelt Nix is no longer Pittsburgh’s fullback, following an injury-plagued season, after the Steelers agreed to a three-year contract with Derek Watt. The middle Watt brother will be replacing Nix’s roles both on offense—limited as it is—and on special teams.
Originally brought in as a futures signing at the linebacker position, the Steelers moved Nix over to the offensive side of the ball to give him a better chance of making the roster in 2015. He did. While he ultimately earned his roster spot via special teams play in the preseason (including forcing a fumble on a kick return), he consistently played fullback on offense as well.
Still, he never even logged 200 offensive snaps in a single season. Such is the nature of the fullback position for nearly all teams around the league, of course, unless your fullback offers your greater versatility, but Nix was one of the better-compensated players at his position. Watt is now the second-highest-paid fullback in the league.
As for Nix, there was a time that he was a big part of the success of the rushing offense, but even disregarding his injuries, the running game simply did not put up strong numbers when he was on the field. In 2019, he was only limited to three games because of a knee injury.
Still, while he was placed on injured reserve, he was designated for return prior to the end of the year, which indicates that he was at least nearing health before the season even ended. That may well mean that he is currently healthy enough to sign with another team.
Of course, the market for fullbacks is not going to be very robust, but he is also a strong special teams contributor. I’m sure he will hook up with another team before too long, but teams will not be rushing to sign him.