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: OL Joe Haeg
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The veteran offensive lineman appears to remain safe in his role as the Steelers’ top swing tackle entering the 2022 season after the team failed to meaningfully address the position in free agency and the draft.
We’re now a few weeks out from training camp. The Steelers have already spent the salary cap space that they got back from the retirement of Stephon Tuitt. It’s fairly safe to speculate that they’re not going to make some big addition along the offensive line at this point that they haven’t already.
And that is good news for Joe Haeg, at least in terms of his job security. The veteran offensive lineman spent the 2021 season as the team’s swing tackle after Zach Banner had an injury setback at the start of the year, prompting Dan Moore Jr. to enter the starting lineup. It looks like he should safely retain his role behind Moore and Chukwuma Okorafor as the starters.
While the Steelers did sign two starting-caliber offensive linemen in free agency, both of them are interior players, with James Daniels expected to start at right guard and Mason Cole the anticipated new starting center.
They did sign Scott Turner, who is capable of playing tackle, but he is more on the level of a Chaz Green than even an Okorafor. Although he has plenty of history with Pat Meyer, the team’s new offensive line coach, I don’t anticipate that he will be giving Haeg a major push for his role as the number three tackle.
That doesn’t mean his roster spot is set in stone. The Steelers do have a player like John Leglue who could potentially claim a job at his expense, given his ability to play both inside and outside. And training camp is when the front office goes over its roster for a final time and looks to make improvements, often via trade. It wouldn’t be a shock if they do manage to add another tackle between now and September. But for the time being, Haeg is in a good place.