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: OLB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Stock Value: Even
Reasoning: It was reported that the Steelers will not be giving Adeniyi a restricted free agent tender. While not a surprise, it will give him an opportunity to sign with any team, though he could very easily wind up circling back to Pittsburgh where he has spent the first three years of his professional career.
While the Steelers have not yet announced anything, it has been reported that the team does not intend to give three-year veteran outside linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi a restricted free agent tender contract, which for even an original-round tender would come with a price tag north of $2 million.
Given the cost of doing so, it’s certainly no surprise that the Steelers chose not to do that, and in fact they have not tendered any of their restricted free agents—wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud has already been re-signed on a one-year deal—but the decision does leave Adeniyi open to sign with any team he chooses once free agency begins.
The question is whether or not he is going to have any kind of significant market, and I certainly don’t know if the answer to that question is in the affirmative. For him, a significant market would consist of any team interested in signing him for more than the veteran minimum, which in his case would be under $1 million.
There is some precedent here. Back in 2016, another former undrafted free agent linebacker, Terence Garvin, was not given a restricted free agent tender. He signed a one-year deal with Washington worth $750,000, which was more than the veteran minimum. He also earned a one-year deal worth $855,000 with the Seahawks the following year, also above the minimum.
Teams do pay special teams players, and Adeniyi has actually established himself as a pretty good one in recent years, particularly last season, during which he logged nearly 300 snaps. My expectation is still that he circles back to Pittsburgh, however—provided that they still want him.