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: S Tyree Kinnel
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: On Sunday, the Steelers made the decision to release first-year safety Tyree Kinnel after originally signing him from the XFL early in the Spring. He was seen as a candidate to push for a spot on the 53-man roster, given the lack of depth at the position.
As it turns out, Tyree Kinnel will not be the next Kameron Kelly, a first-year defensive back who parlays a short half-season stint with a minor professional league into a role at the safety position for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last season, Kelly, after playing in the AAF, not only made the team, but started the opener due to injury and then continued to serve sporadically as the dimebacker, until he was released following an arrest.
Kinnel had a similar journey with the XFL, but his road was going to be much tougher for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that there are no preseason games this year. Kelly had the benefit of a full offseason, and starter Sean Davis miss a lot of practice time, which allowed Kelly to get a lot of playing time, often with the starters.
Kinnel has had none of that—in fact he was just going to get on the field with the team for the first time—and the Steelers determined that he was among those players who would be the least likely to make a push for a starting job.
His release comes after they were reported to have signed Curtis Riley, a veteran safety. They also had John Battle on the 90-man roster since January after he signed to a futures deal, so he has had a longer tenure with the team, even if only by a few months.
With Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen already returning behind the starters, and the addition of Antoine Brooks in the draft, it became clear that the team already had five top favorites to make the team. They obviously decided that Riley is more likely to make a push due to his experience, even if he is brand new to the team, than Kinnel.