With Super Bowl LV now behind us the 2020 NFL season is now over with and the offseason has now officially gotten underway. This week signals the release of several major media power rankings looking back on the 2020 season and ahead to the 2021 season. On Tuesday, Dan Hanzus of NFL.com released his end-of-the-offseason NFL power rankings and he has the Pittsburgh Steeler ranked 10th overall in them.
Here is what Hanzus gave as his reason for ranking the Steelers 10th.
We have — for the first time in a long time — drama at the quarterback position in Pittsburgh. Fresh off the 2020 campaign’s team-wide collapse, Steelers president Art Rooney II said there would have to be “significant concessions” for Ben Roethlisberger to return for an 18th season, and the soon-to-be 39-year-old quarterback replied by telling The Athletic he didn’t care how much the Steelers paid him in 2021. It all points to a reunion of the two sides for one last rodeo, but you wonder if team brass and Mike Tomlin will seriously ponder having a new QB option in the mix come September.
Hanzus only focusing on Roethlisberger’s status is reasonable. After all, Roethlisberger is set to count $41.25 million against the Steelers 2021 salary cap with a little more than five weeks remaining before the start of the new league year on March 17. Roethlisberger is reportedly meeting with the Steelers sometime this week to discuss his possible return for at least one more season as well as his contract and ways to get his cap number down.
We’ll have a much better idea as to what the 2021 Steelers will look like come March 17 because by then we’ll know Roethlisberger’s status and the same goes for their long list of offseason free agents, of which 19 are scheduled to become unrestricted in a little more than five weeks from today. The team likely hopes to re-sign a few of those 19 players and whether they can or not will depend on the agreement they reach with Roethlisberger on his contract and the leagues 2021 salary cap number, which could come in as low as $175 million.
Ahead of the Steelers in Hanzus’ power rankings are two other AFC North teams, the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns. The Ravens are ranked fifth by Hanzus and the Browns are one spot ahead of the Steelers at ninth overall. The other AFC North team, the Cincinnati Bengals, are ranked 29th overall by Hanzus.
The super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ranked first by Hanzus and the team they beat this past Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs, are ranked second.
Depending on where you look online, the Steelers are most often times spotted in the middle of the pack when it comes to odds of winning Super Bowl LVI.