The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How much of a chance does Wendell Smallwood have of making the Steelers’ 53-man roster?
Wendell Smallwood has been without a team since his last contract expired, playing the 2019 season with the Washington Football Team after they claimed him off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles following the roster cuts down to 53.
So why was he unsigned for all that time if he is a player who is capable of contributing to a football team for a bargain rate? Why didn’t the Steelers look to sign him earlier if they wanted to add another running back?
Those are questions that are being asked when you look at their addition of a four-year veteran who has over 1000 yards from scrimmage and seven scores under his belt as a rotational/role player over the course of the past four seasons.
The Steelers have four running backs on the 90-man roster that they personally have used a mid-round draft pick on over the course of the past four years. presumably, at least three of them—James Conner, Benny Snell, and rookie Anthony McFarland—are locks to be on the 53-man roster.
That doesn’t leave much margin for error for a newcomer, especially since it’s not even taken as a given that they will carry four running backs. But the fact that he is a special teams contributor will play into his favor, and the fact that he has experience in a season that will lack training is important as well.