Roster turnover is an inevitability in this league, but the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster has changed considerably since the end of last season, with many players who have been important to this franchise now gone, either retired, in limbo, or in another uniform. As we wind down the time until training camp opens, it feels appropriate to acknowledge the old faces that we’ll no longer be seeing on the sidelines this year.
That includes Pro Bowlers and former high draft picks, as well as undrafted free agents of varying accomplishment. Four losses along the offensive line, multiple departures at linebacker and in the secondary, and other changes mixed in, will make for a rather different roster.
All the same, there are the steady presences that remain: the Ben Roethlisbergers, the T.J. Watts, the Cameron Heywards. Who will be the next long-term faces? Minkah Fitzpatrick will certainly be one. What about Cameron Sutton? Zach Banner? Kevin Dotson? Devin Bush? When will their names appear in this retrospective?
S Jordan Dangerfield
100 seasons (estimated)
Jordan Dangerfield first signed with the Steelers as a Reserve/Future player in 2014, a year after going undrafted and joining the Buffalo Bills. He has been a member of the Steelers organization on and off since then, at least until this offseason, remaining unsigned as of this writing.
A Towson product, Dangerfield earned everything he got the hard way, spending years on practice squads before finally getting an opportunity to crack the 53-man roster in 2016 following consistently notable preseason performances.
He would go on to log 1,147 snaps on special teams over the course of the four seasons on which he would be on the 53-man roster, having been skipped over in 2017. That year, he suffered an injury late in the preseason, and the team traded for veteran J.J. Wilcox to play behind Sean Davis and Mike Mitchell, joined by Robert Golden.
Dangerfield returned to the 53-man roster following that one-year dalliance back on the practice squad, but would rarely ever see the opportunity to play on defense again, even though he was able to start two games as an injury fill-in during that 2016 season.
But he would become an indispensable member of the special teams units, averaging more than 300 snaps per season over the past three years. He was their special teams captain last season, a distinction they don’t always hand out.
For whatever reason, this offseason, the Steelers seemingly have decided that they don’t need to bring him back, and as mentioned, he remains unsigned. It’s still possible they bring him back before the season starts, however.
At this time, 2016 sixth-round pick Antoine Brooks Jr. is their top backup safety, a likely special teamer who is in the running to man the slot. He is joined by veteran Arthur Maulet, as well as rookies Tre Norwood, Donovan Stiner, and Lamont Wade as depth behind Fitzpatrick and Edmunds.