The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row, going 1-4 in the final five games, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason that resulted in their early exit.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?
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: Which of the Steelers 19 pending undrafted free agents would you guarantee returns to the team in 2021?
This is a question that w posed on our Twitter page yesterday, but I figured it would make for a good topic for the community as well. The Steelers have 19 players currently who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in March. Given the realities of their salary cap situation, they will not be able to retain many of them, but if you were to choose, which among the list below would you guarantee returns to the team?
OLB Bud Dupree; WR JuJu Smith-Schuster; RB James Conner; LT Alejandro Villanueva; LG Matt Feiler; CB Mike Hilton; CB Cameron Sutton; DT Tyson Alualu; T Zach Banner; DL Chris Wormley; P Jordan Berry; S Jordan Dangerfield; ILB Avery Williamson; S Sean Davis; QB Joshua Dobbs; OLB Jayrone Elliott; T Jerald Hawkins; G Danny Isidora; OLB Cassius Marsh.
The majority of these names were added after the initial 53-man roster was made back in September and are fringe players, but can be brought back as inexpensive depth, like a Hawkins or possibly an Isidora.
Others like Dupree, Villanueva, and Smith-Schuster can fetch a premium price on the open market, and there are potential mid-range values on the offering in guys like Conner and the young cornerbacks. The front office will have to pick and choose their price ranges and priorities. And they’ll also need a punter…