The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted before they even reached the postseason, which unfortunately marks the sixth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—tying their longest drought of the Super Bowl era. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-8 and nearly making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Haden to most of their wide receiver room, not to mention Stephon Tuitt’s decision to retire.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2022 season.
Player: Chase Claypool
Experience: 3 Years
Before you even say anything, yes, I already know Chase Claypool isn’t on the team, and technically because of that he would not actually get an ‘exit meeting’. But we’ve long had a precedent of including in this series all players who played a significant role on the team during the previous season, and that’s where the former second-round draft pick fits in.
It doesn’t hurt that the Steelers managed to get a draft pick back in trading him to the Chicago Bears. In fact, they used the 49th-overall pick to draft him. They got back the 32nd. Not a bad return on investment on top of two and a half years of service.
Before the Steelers trade him in 2022 during the bye week, however, he was not heavily productive. Over eight games, he caught 32 passes on 50 targets for 311 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for 55 yards on eight carries, as well, and completed a one-yard touchdown pass to fullback Derek Watt on a gadget play.
There is no question that Claypool was a substantial part of the offense while he was here, however. He logged 462 snaps in the eight games played in Pittsburgh, 86% of the team’s total. That was a higher percentage than in either of his first two seasons.
It also must be stated that the Steelers were going through a quarterback transition, and to his credit, he did make several clutch plays on possession downs, most notably in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game after Kenny Pickett was injured.
Ultimately, he never lived up to his initial promise in Pittsburgh, yet I don’t know that they would have traded him this past year if they did not get such a robust compensation for him. I don’t think they just decided that he was no longer talented; I believe it was merely a business decision based on relative value.
Either way, he’s now Chicago’s problem.