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: CB Justin Layne
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: The third-year cornerback was arrested over the weekend on drug charges and possession of a firearm, but it doesn’t appear likely to have any bearing on his roster status, or even his opportunity to compete for a role.
You never want to have your players get arrested, but frankly, the odds suggest that it’s simply going to happen from time to time. That happened to the Steelers over the weekend when their young cornerback, Justin Layne, was pulled over in a car containing a handgun and several blunts.
At least from what I understand, these are ultimately minor charges that in some states would not even be criminal. In their remarks on Monday during their pre-draft press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert didn’t even allude to the incident and simply talked about the football opportunity that he has before him.
Truth be told, the Steelers already have another player on the roster who was arrested for a far worse offense, that being practice squad tackle Jarron Jones, who was accused of domestic violence in October of last year, including throwing a gaming console at his partner’s head. Yet his roster status never changed, except when he went on the Reserve/Injured List late in the year.
I mention that only to make it clear that in no way should Layne’s roster spot be viewed as being in jeopardy, at least based on the fact that he was arrested. That could change depending on how the offseason plays out and what they do in the draft, just based on what he shows on grass, but the end of the road for him would not come because of this.
With that being said, I will be charitable and say that it’s almost never a good look to get yourself arrested. At best, it likely shows that you put yourself in a vulnerable situation that, as a high-profile professional, you should be avoiding. I don’t want to make light of the situation. But there’s also technically nothing wrong with owning a handgun or having a blunt in your car if you’re not smoking it, excepting local laws pertaining to their use, which vary substantially.