Roster turnover is an inevitability in this league. But the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster has changed considerably since the end of last season. Many players who have been important to this franchise departed, either in retirement, limbo, or 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 join this series?
T/G Matt Feiler
For a 28-year-old former undrafted free agent who spent three years on practice squads, Matt Feiler was very fortunate to cash in this offseason, netting himself a healthy three-year, $21 million contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, which included $13 million guaranteed with a $6 million signing bonus.
Coming out of Bloomsburg, he first arrived in Pittsburgh in 2015, spending his first two years there on the practice squad after doing the same as a rookie the year before with the Houston Texans.
At the time, he was spending most of his time lining up at guard, but his first real opportunity came at tackle in 2018 when Marcus Gilbert was battling injuries. He did start at right guard for David DeCastro in the 2017 season finale after the team had already secured a bye week.
By 2019, he was the intended starter at right tackle, and he put together a strong season before being moved to left guard last year. His play was less consistent there, but he should be able to improve, and the Chargers plan to play him there.
In his absence, the Steelers now turn to the next generation, with second-year Kevin Dotson expected to be their new left guard. He started four games last season, including two on the right side, and played well. DeCastro is now gone, and Pittsburgh replaced him with the signing of Trai Turner.
Some thought Pittsburgh should re-sign Feiler and move him back to tackle, which many feel is his best position. With a $5 million 2021 cap hit, though, it would have been very hard for Pittsburgh to swing. They now rely on their in-house options with Chukwuma Okorafor on the left side and Zach Banner on the right. They also added Joe Haeg as depth in free agency, and drafted Dan Moore Jr. in the fourth round.