Now that training camp 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 reasoning. 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: P Jordan Berry
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: For the second time in as many years, the Steelers have released Jordan Berry, though this time it was due to direct competition, and his release did not come after the first cutdown to 53 players.
Jordan Berry has been the Steelers’ primary punter for the past six years, outside of the first five games of the 2020 season, after he was released and replaced with Dustin Colquitt. Colquitt struggled sufficiently enough that he was released after five games and Berry, who was still available, was re-signed to finish out the season.
Though he played some of his best football after he was brought back, and actually had a strong summer, and played well in the preseason, the Steelers opted to go with the younger, higher-upside rookie draft pick, Pressley Harvin III, hoping that he can provide the special teams unit with some CHONK plays this season.
A seventh-round pick, Harvin enters the specialist group along with new long snapper Christian Kuntz, marking a changing of the guard with Kameron Canaday also being let go, with only veteran kicker Chris Boswell set to return.
The absolute unit checks in at outside linebacker weight, listed at 255 pounds, but he does need to improve his consistency, something that Berry also had to do over the course of his career—and which he did.
During the preseason, Berry’s gross and net average, hangtime, and return rate on his punts were all superior to Harvin’s, but the rookie offers higher highs, which must be traded off for lower lows, in the hope that he will improve his consistency over the course of his career as he develops—not uncommon for specialists.
There was some hope among fans that the Steelers would be able to move Berry to a punter-needy team for a late-round draft pick, but they ended up releasing him, one might imagine after exploring a potential market that did not develop. As a veteran, he is eligible to sign with anybody immediately as soon as his release is made official (which it has not yet).