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: LB Calvin Bundage
Stock Value: Sold, then Repurchased
Reasoning: Originally signed as a rookie college free agent, Bundage was released on Tuesday ahead of the opening of training camp in a corresponding move that saw them officially sign free agents Melvin Ingram and Chaz Green. After Vince Williams retired, Bundage was re-signed.
The Steelers signed two players, and then released two players who play their position. Simple enough, the low men on the totem pole were shown the door with limited roster spots available. The signing of Melvin Ingram was a big get for Pittsburgh at this stage of the game, so it’s a small sacrifice to lose out on a rookie college free agent.
That would be Calvin Bundage, a four-year player out of Oklahoma State, who first signed with the Steelers just after the 2021 NFL Draft. Though he was viewed as inside-outside capable, it’s likely he was targets to play outside for Pittsburgh. He recorded 12 sacks during his college career, including 7.5 last season over 10 games.
But then the team was hit with the surprise retirement of Vince Williams. That opened back up a roster spot, and they quickly turned around and re-signed Bundage, who adds another player back to the linebacker ranks, albeit skewed to the outside.
Barring injury, it would seem that the Steelers’ outside linebacker depth chart for the 53-man roster is already set for the 2021 season. T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and now Ingram are your clear top three, with Cassius Marsh and rookie sixth-round pick Quincy Roche in position to take over reserve roles, provided that they can play on special teams.
The only other outside linebackers on the roster are a pair of rookie undrafted free agents, Jamir Jones and Jamar Watson. The two figure to be competing for a spot on the practice squad, now along with Bundage again, though given that he was the one to be waived, that suggests he’s starting from the bottom. Jones’ brother, tackle Jarron Jones, was on the practice squad last season, but was released on Tuesday along with Bundage in the flurry of pre-camp moves.