Ask Alex: Steelers Mailbag

Welcome back to your Pittsburgh Steelers’ mailbag. As always, we’re here for the next hour to answer whatever is on your mind.

To your questions!

Steelers Depot: Should Cameron Sutton demand and deserve to be at least the 15th highest paid CB in the NFL, which would put him at a tick over $13,333,333 per year, per OTC? 🙂

Alex: Haha, hello Dave. Fancy seeing you here.

Sure, the numbers and the market bear that out. I just go back to what Charvarius Ward got from the 49ers last year. Sutton can and probably should get more than that.

I wonder if he’s gonna get it. I’m more interested in what number he gets than anything else this offseason. I take it with a grain of salt but some of the other media “projections” have him pegged to get far less…of course, the same media types who projected Mitch Trubisky to get more than he did a year ago.

Sutton could still get paid $10-11 million and see a serious raise over what he was making. Maybe he’d be willing to do that if it meant staying in Pittsburgh. Interested to see how it plays out. And if he does get paid Top 15 money, will the Steelers use him like that big money demands he does. Stays on the outside on third down, shadows top receivers.

OMG Reptar: How do you think scouting works when you have a coach on your staff that is getting looks to be hired by another team (Brian Flores)? I guess the board isn’t set at this point.

Alex: Right, it’s not going to change what you do much. Flores could file his reports, offer his suggestions and viewpoint, but he wasn’t the one setting the board or anything. No decisions were made based solely off what he said. It’d be different if you brought a guy in because Flores wanted him and then he left for another job. But the NFL calendar works out well where that doesn’t really happen. So no change in how they’re operating with or without him.


I confess…Imhooked on PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator…

One thing I’ve noticed is that there are always a bunch of trade offers for the 17th pick that usually allow me to pick up a 3rd & 5th at a minimum

If you were the Steelers, would you make a trade like that this year?

Alex: An answer you’ll hear me give a lot this draft season. Maybe. It really just depends on all the variables. On what happened in free agency, on the draft board, on team needs, on who I might target if I trade down (you didn’t say how far down in the first you were moving, big difference between five spots and 14).

Now, this team doesn’t have a 5th or 6th round pick and will be waiting awhile between the 4th and their first of two picks in the 7th round. That’s an opportunity to bridge that gap either by trading down at some point (doesn’t have to be first round) or in theory, trading up, just as they did for Isaiahh Loudermilk two years ago.

When it comes to draft trades, no one knows until draft day. The Steelers don’t even know what they’re doing right now.

OMG Reptar: Alex, what is your background/education in? Where do you get your football knowledge from and how do I grow mine?

Alex: Nothing fancy. Public high school, a public college, the very rural and forgettable Clarion University that’s about five years from running out of money and shutting down. Just a lot of self-teaching. Reading, taking notes, etc. And then with this job, it’s pretty easy to stay committed to learning and watching. I think pretty much anyone can do what I do. Most of this isn’t natural to me. It’s just me working at it and watching and taking notes and leaning on that information as my guide.

But the Internet is a beautiful thing and there’s so many resources. Clinics and Twitter accounts and articles you can read. You can check out Ted Nyguen of The Athletic, Chris Brown of Smart Football, Tim Layden’s Blood, Sweat, and Chalk is a great introductory book, and you can go find old playbooks if you want and skim through.

ironkett: Hi, Alex! When are we going to get your annual mock-offseason article? That is one of my favorite articles of the year! I also love the podcasts leading up to the draft as those are always entertaining. This is a fun time of year to follow the site!

Alex: Hey man! Thanks so much. Mock offseason will happen this year. I don’t have an exact date but we’re probably looking at it posting Monday, March 13th. I’ll knock it out over the weekend and then run it. Absolutely, NFL calendar doesn’t stop and we’re excited for it.

WeWantDaTruth: Hi Alex. Since the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs last year, are the a candidate for Hard Knocks this year? I’m sure Rooney is not fond of his team in that spotlight, but how long can he hold off the NFL on this?

Alex: They are not part of the “eligible” list. Requirements are a team that doesn’t have a first-year head coach, a team that hasn’t appeared in the last decade, and a team that hasn’t made the playoffs two years. Pittsburgh made it in 2021. If they miss in 2023, they’ll be eligible in 2024 (assuming Mike Tomlin isn’t fired).

And yes, no one in that building probably wants to be on the show. Certainly not Rooney or Mike Tomlin.

ironkett: What would you do (not what you think the Steelers will do) at backup quarterback?

Alex: Dump Trubisky. Easy decision. Didn’t work out, dude doesn’t want to be here, both sides shake hands and move on. Go sign a veteran for half the cost or re-sign Mason Rudolph if he really wants to do that. Sign an undrafted free agent (and offer partial base salary guarantee) to the top QB after April’s draft. Add another low-level type for a 4th arm. Maybe a real low-level veteran, a David Blough type or another rookie.

mark z: Hi Alex, I was wondering how important you think keeping Mitch Trubisky is, with salary and such. I think it would be the best thing for the Steelers next season. I just think 17 games and injuries to Kenny Pickett are a real scenario. Hopefully not… ?

Alex: It’s important to have a trusted veteran backup. So if it’s not Trubisky, that’s fine with me, but there has to be a plan in place before letting him loose and hoping you can find someone. But yes, 68 QBs started last year and probably 70+ played. You better have a reliable #2 and it’s why the team held onto Mason Rudolph last year to have an established, veteran QB room.

Daniel Moon: Hey Alex, what would you do with Chucks? He played ok but his pff is in the 60s so the Steelers
might not want to pay him over $10M.

Alex: Don’t love it but keep him at RT. Still consider the draft, maybe you get a Wright/Jones and then you can open the convo about shifting him back to LT but I’m not cutting the guy.

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