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: TE Eric Ebron
Stock Value: Up
As I posted about a couple of days ago, it is clear that tight end Eric Ebron has made some great progress in his rehab from ankle surgery that he underwent late last season. The free agent acquisition was signed to a two-year deal in March worth $12 million in total, so he is expected to serve a pretty big role in the Steelers’ offense this year.
Before he can do that, of course, he has to get fully healthy, and based on his recent training videos that he has been sharing, he appears to be well on his way to obtaining that desired end. Should he enter the season healthy, he could prove to be a significant weapon for Ben Roethlisberger.
A former first-round draft pick who had previously flirted with the bust label, his breakout 2018 season, in which he caught 13 touchdowns and went to the Pro Bowl, really revitalized both his career and his image. With Andrew Luck retiring and his playing through injuries last year, however, his number and reputation both suffered.
Perhaps that is exactly what allowed Ebron to fall into the Steelers’ price range, which is exactly what we should hope, of course. Even if he could be 75 percent of the player that he was in 2018, he would be a great asset to this team, including in the red zone, which was a sore spot in 2019 for Pittsburgh to say the least.
Talent like Ebron doesn’t come as cheap as he was had for unless there are buyer bewares, and make no mistake, he does have them. Other than his health, which has been a concern in multiple seasons, there is also the undeniable reality that he has a legitimate drop problem. You are not going to sign him expecting not to be frustrated by him from time to time. That’s just part of the package.
But he can also create big plays that counterbalance his failings, and that’s why he’s here.