We started this series with a little over two weeks remaining to the draft, knowing that nearly all of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ pertinent personnel decisions will have already been made. Over the course of the series, we will be reviewing the team’s roster turnover position by position in an effort to help us project what their plans will be for the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Steelers had eight primary players scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this offseason and have re-signed only one of them, that being Bud Dupree on the franchise tag. Unrestricted free agents who signed elsewhere were Javon Hargrave, B.J. Finney, Sean Davis, Tyler Matakevich, Nick Vannett, and Artie Burns. They re-signed a number exclusive rights or restricted free agents, chiefly Matt Feiler and Mike Hilton, as well as Zach Banner, Kameron Canaday, and Jordan Dangerfield on non-tender one-year deals. The deals of Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Maurkice Pouncey, Chris Boswell, and Vance McDonald were all restructured.
Also of note were the releases of Mark Barron, Anthony Chickillo, Johnny Holton, and Roosevelt Nix, and the retirement of Ramon Foster, as well as three significant signings in free agency, adding a new fullback in Roosevelt Nix, a potential starting lineman in Stefen Wisniewski, and a new tight end in Eric Ebron.
Total Positional Figure: 4
Offseason Additions: 1
Offseason Deletions: 0
Chris Boswell: Last season was a critical bounceback year for Berry after he missed 12 kicks in 2018, going 13 for 20 on field goal attempts. This past year, he tied for the fewest total missed kicks in the NFL.
Jordan Berry: 2019 was supposed to be Berry’s best season yet. It wasn’t, but it was not his worst, either. He had some particularly bad non-punting moments, though his worst was one botched punt that he would try to recover, only fumbling in the process. Expect the team to try to bring in another undrafted free agent who can push him this year the way Ian Berryman did the year before, and whoever the guy was the year before that.
Kameron Canaday: For what it’s worth, I though Canaday did better in 2019 than the year before. For one thing, he didn’t have three holding penalties, so that’s a start. At this point, I think he’s establishing himself to the point where they’re not going to be looking for a replacement.
Christian Kuntz: A linebacker-slash-long snapper, Kuntz was in training camp with the Steelers last year, though he didn’t do a ton of snapping. I wouldn’t expect him to do much this year either.
Players Deleted: N/A
Notes And Draft Outlook:
No, the Steelers are not going to be drafting anybody, but as they always do, they will be adding a kicker and punter among their rookie college free agent signings. While Boswell is no longer under direct threat after showing a return to form, there’s no reason to think Berry’s job won’t be targeted for a series challenger.