The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks a slight improvement from the past two seasons, during which they did not even qualify for the playoffs altogether. They have now done four seasons without securing a victory beyond regular season play.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
They did manage to go 12-4 during the regular season, and secured their first AFC North title since 2017, posting a new franchise record by opening the season with 11 consecutive wins, but of course it all fell apart after that. Their only victory after that required a 17-point comeback.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2020 season.
Player: Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Experience: 3 Years
It was just three short years ago that Olasunkanmi Adeniyi was branded as the next James Harrison. If he actually ends up developing into that, then it would be fitting that he has struggled to emerge as a steady contributor on defense over the course of the three intervening years, as that is how Harrison’s career began as well.
Despite being the most experienced play in the Steelers’ system among the reserves at outside linebacker, Adeniyi lost playing time to Cassius Marsh when the veteran was brought in at the end of the season, which is not an optimistic sign for his future.
While not a surprise, the team’s decision to forego applying a restricted free agent tender, thus making him eligible to sign with any team, is not a ringing endorsement about what they feel he can become, either.
With that said, he deserves a great deal of credit for transforming himself into a legitimate special teams contributor over the course of the past two seasons, which was not a role he seemed to be suited four during his rookie year.
Adeniyi will have the opportunity to explore the open market later this week, and is eligible to talk to teams as of today, but it certainly wouldn’t be a shock if he ends up back in Pittsburgh on a cheap deal, especially with everybody else on the outside linebacker depth chart short of T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith also preparing to hit the open market. They’re bound to keep at least one free agent at this position, and he is the most likely, I would imagine, unless they really like Marsh.