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 Sean Davis
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: The 2020 season—the last two years, really—could have gone better for Sean Davis, who almost surely will not be pursued by any teams this offseason with an eye toward starting.
Entering the 2019 season, Sean Davis was entering the final year of his rookie contract and his second year as the Steelers’ starting free safety, with the expectation being that he would continue to grow into that role over time.
Things didn’t quite work out that way, as injuries came to define the year, well before the regular season even began. He even missed the season opener, and then returned for the second game of the season, only to suffer a long-term shoulder injury.
At that point, Ben Roethlisberger had already gone down, but rather than give up on the season, the Steelers traded for Minkah Fitzpatrick, essentially writing off Davis as a starter for the future. Davis remained on injured reserve all year.
In spite of the injury, he was still a starter, and he was pursued in free agency, receiving a modest offer from Washington. But after he failed to win the starting job, they released him outright, choosing to eat his small signing bonus rather than carry him as depth.
Pittsburgh brought him back for depth at a bargain, but he barely played on defense at all. He only started the season finale when Terrell Edmunds missed the game due to injury. They even played Marcus Allen and Antoine Brooks, and even Jordan Dangerfield, over him.
Davis’ market value has plummeted over the past two years, to the point where one could reasonably see the Steelers looking to retain him this offseason on a one-year veteran-minimum qualifying contract. And I would be totally fine with that, because he’s also a solid special teams contributor and good depth. But it’s not what he wants, I’m sure. He obviously wants to be a starter, somewhere.