Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future.
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. 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 season as we move forward.
Player: S Jordan Dangerfield
Stock Value: Even
Reasoning: With even more high-level special teams departures last year, Jordan Dangerfield importance for the Steelers in the third face of the game rose in 2021, even being named special teams captain, though it seems the team views him as a player who has plateaued overall.
Jordan Dangerfield is 30 years old. Did you realize that? He has four accrued seasons in the NFL, and just turned 30 on Christmas. Originally undrafted out of Towson in 2013, he has been around the league for a long time, spending all but one year in the Steelers organization, but it’s only since 2018 that he has found stable employment on the 53-man roster (he was also on the 53 in 2016).
But he has only played 22 defensive snaps combined in the past two seasons. The names of safeties who have played more than him in that span include Kameron Kelly, Marcus Allen, and Antoine Brooks, a rookie who was on the practice squad for most of the year and was a sixth-round pick.
But he has also played more than 200 snaps on special teams every year he has been on the roster, including over 250 last year, and over 300 in the two years prior to that. He is a core, four-phase performer in that area of the game.
After guys like Tyler Matakevich, Anthony Chickillo, and others were lost over the course of the past couple of seasons, Dangerfield has become Danny Smith’s number one guy, pretty much, and he does have 23 tackles over the past two years, almost all on special teams, including 10 in 2020.
The Steelers don’t ask more of him than that. A pending unrestricted free agent, it’s reasonable to expect that he will be re-signed, but only to a one-year, veteran-minimum contract. He was a restricted free agent last offseason and they declined to tender him, making him an unrestricted free agent, and he unsurprisingly didn’t attract a market.