Now that the 2020 training camp 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 Sean Davis
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: Following initial roster cuts, the Steelers have already made several additions, including the signing of Sean Davis, the former second-round safety who has spent the past four seasons with the team.
Were it not for his injury last season, Sean Davis would have essentially been a four-year starter. As it is, he returns to the team experienced both in terms of playing time and in terms of their defense. The Steelers haven’t made any significant changes to his position, so they feel comfortable slotting him right in as the top backup for both safety positions.
His return displaced another veteran, free safety Curtis Riley, who started for the Giants two years ago. Signed once training camp started, he seemed poised to be a top backup, but when the opportunity to sign Davis arose, they jumped at the chance.
It helped a lot that they got him at a bargain. He signed a one-year deal with the Washington Football Team for a reported $4 million, which included a two-million signing bonus. When he failed to win a starting job, they opted to release him, for reasons that are still somewhat unclear.
Since he already received $2 million, it made a lot of sense for Davis to return to where he was familiar, even on a minimum-salary one-year contract, giving him the best opportunity to potentially put some good snaps on tape and try free agency again next year.
Even if he never has to start a game at safety this year because the starters stay healthy—neither Minkah Fitzpatrick nor Terrell Edmunds have yet missed a game in their relatively brief careers—he could still have a role as a sub-package player, giving him the opportunity to play, and he will function on special teams as well.
It’s a meaningful win for the team to secure this depth at one of their thinnest positions on the roster, added to that the fact that they were also able to retain Riley on the practice squad. Presuming that he still factors into their compensatory formula for the next draft, it just works out even better.