Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth 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 have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into 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. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: WR Miles Boykin
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers claimed Boykin, a former 2019 third-round draft pick, off waivers after his release by the Ravens, and were granted his rights yesterday.
After the Steelers lost JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud via free agency at the wide receiver position, it was obvious that they would have their work cut out for them to restore the position.
While they still had two holdover starters in Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, they were the only ones left from the 2021 opening-day roster. Pittsburgh signed return specialist Gunner Olszewski earlier this offseason, but yesterday’s acquisition via waiver claim of Miles Boykin is the most significant addition to the room thus far.
Boykin has not lived up to his third-round pedigree, and in fact found himself on the bottom of the depth chart last year after missing extensive time due to a hamstring injury. The fact that they decided to put in a waiver claim rather than hoping to sign him to a minimum-value deal shows how much they needed help.
He qualified for a Proven Performance Escalator fourth-year salary boost due to playing time (as had another former Ravens’ fourth-year acquisition, Chris Wormley), and they will have to pay him about $2.5 million should he make the 53-man roster.
But he is a player that they liked a lot coming out of college, and the Steelers tend to stick with them and circle back to get them if the opportunity arises. The fact that they can cut him and take no cap hit means the risk is minimal to find out if they can get more out of him than the Ravens did.
But I doubt they would have claimed him if they didn’t expect to pay him that $2.5 million. They now have a third veteran option to fight for a roster spot prior to the draft, joining Steven Sims and Anthony Miller, who were on the practice squad already in 2021.