The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a solid plan of attack the past two offseasons when filling positions of need. They never went for the big name players in free agency, mainly because of their cap, but they signed players who could be considered “middle tier” guys. All of these players were brought in with the purpose to help ease the pain of losing players like Antonio Brown, Ramon Foster, or to fill a major need. Each player they would sign provided solid contributions in previous seasons, so they had the pedigree that they could come in and contribute right away. In 2019, the Steelers brought in players like Donte Moncrief, Steven Nelson, and Mark Barron. In 2020, they signed Eric Ebron, Derek Watt, and Stefen Wisniewski. General Manager Kevin Colbert and Head Coach Mike Tomlin would not stop plugging those holes with just free agency, they would double down on some of these position signings with the NFL Draft. They used picks on players like Diontae Johnson, Devin Bush, and Kevin Dotson to name a few, adding more depth and competition with the hope this would bring success. The strategy itself fit perfect for the Steelers recently because they are a team that has the roster to make a Super Bowl run. They executed the idea that these veterans can step in immediately and the young players can learn and develop because you are not squandering veteran players in the prime of their careers. Players like Nelson and Ebron succeeded earning repeat seasons in the black and gold. The Steelers even got lucky in some circumstances where the young players actually outperformed the veterans they brought in or were able to step up because the veterans disappointed (yes, I am talking about Moncrief). All in all, the plan worked and those holes no longer exist.
Unfortunately for Colbert and Tomlin this type of luxury won’t exist in the 2021 offseason with their current cap predicament and the salary cap number still unannounced. Instead, they will have to be quite creative and find some diamond in the rough free agents or lean heavily on their scouting department to maximize the 9 draft picks they have this year (projecting two compensatory picks). It is going to be quite interesting on how they navigate the holes they currently have at running back, tackle, cornerback and tight end (this is taking into consideration the current roster with no resigning UFAs). The clock is currently ticking and I am very intrigued on how they will navigate the tricky waters of the 2021 offseason.
What do you think, #SteelerNation? How do you think the Steelers will fill their needs this year? Drop a comment below!