The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead, they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answering, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Who would you rather win the Super Bowl, Javon Hargrave or JuJu Smith-Schuster?
There are two prominent former Steelers who will be on either side of the equation in the Super Bowl on February 12. That means one of them is going to get a ring—and one of them isn’t. Both defensive lineman Javon Hargrave, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, were great representatives for the team while here, but they’re on to better things with their new clubs now.
While many soured on Smith-Schuster late in his career here, often due to off-field, social media behaviors (a series of injuries didn’t help either), he was at one time perhaps the most beloved member of the team, and I think many fans who turned on him have gained a little more respect seeing him perform in Kansas City.
As for Hargrave, he’s not making the team’s decision to not make a committed effort to get him re-signed look any better. He had a career year with 11 sacks in 2022, and yet somehow didn’t make the Pro Bowl.
Each has made it to the Super Bowl with their new teams, to state the obvious, but only one will be a champion. Irrespective of the teams that they play for, who would you be happier to see them get a ring?
I do really want to stress that this is specifically not team-oriented because that’s another subject. As individuals, as people, as former Steelers, assuming you would be happy for the success of either, would you be happier for Smith-Schuster or Hargrave?
Of course, you don’t even have to care, but many fans do continue to follow players after they leave in free agency. Some root for their success, others may root against it. Mike Hilton probably lost some more fans recently, but he doesn’t have to worry about getting a ring this season.