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: WR Steven Sims
Experience: 3 Years
After a year on the practice squad in 2021, Steven Sims began to re-establish himself last season with the Steelers. After making the initial 53-man roster, he would not dress for a few weeks. It likely would have stayed that way if not for the struggles of Gunner Olszewski as the team’s return man.
Sims replaced him as the team’s returner for both punts and kickoffs, though a larger offensive role was not yet available with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and George Pickens ahead of him. He actually suffered an eye injury before kickoff in his first game active, which severely limited what they could ask him to do.
In truth, his own efforts in the return game proved equally as adventurous as Olszewski’s. He was subject to the same issues of ball security, putting it on the ground a couple of times and struggling to field the ball cleanly. But he had some spark once he did get the ball in his hands. He only had a few opportunities to return kicks late in the year.
Sims stepped in as the primary slot receiver after the bye week when the Steelers traded Claypool. He averaged about 30 snaps per game in the final nine games and came close to hitting 300 for the season, along with his special teams work.
By year’s end, he had caught 14 passes on 23 targets for 104 yards. He also recorded 70 rushing yards on 13 attempts, totaling 174 yards from scrimmage. He is still looking for his first touchdown as a Steeler, having been tackled on an 89-yard kick return back in week five.
At the moment, he is scheduled to become a restricted free agent, which would require a minimum compensation of over $2.6 million if tagged. It’s possible that the Steelers pick up that tender, but they may also let him hit the market and attempt to sign him on a veteran minimum deal.