With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: ILB Robert Spillane
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: Though many expected the Steelers to re-sign him, veteran free agent inside linebacker Robert Spillane found a better offer on the open market. He signed a two-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders that could be worth up to $9 million.
Things move quickly early in free agency with players coming and going, so it’s difficult to keep every move in order when you take them one by one. Robert Spillane’s departure was a while ago by now, but we’ll be covering it and its implications now.
An every-down linebacker for the final leg of the 2022 season, Spillane has been a utility man for the Steelers for the past four years. He began as a special teamer before slowly but surely finding opportunities on defense. He’s been a sort of third starter for the past couple of years, with a specialized role in dime sub-packages.
Though he has certain athletic limitations that trip him up at times, particularly in coverage, you might not find a more sincere student of the game than Spillane, nor one more dedicated to getting the most out of his body, however much that might be.
Most assumed that the Steelers would bring him back this offseason as a potential starter with the expected departure of Devin Bush (who signed with the Seattle Seahawks) and the potential release of Myles Jack, both of which also occurred. It is not clear how serious Pittsburgh was about bringing him back, however.
The team has already moved on, signing Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts as veteran free agents, both of them with a good deal of starting experience. Holcomb profiles much like a more athletic Spillane and will likely be the every-down linebacker in 2023.
Despite these additions, the Steelers could still address the inside linebacker position in the draft. Given the greater urgency for premium talent at other positions, such as cornerback and tackle, they may not take one with one of their highest draft picks, but there is still room to add to the group.