The offseason, and free agency in particular is always an exciting time around the league, moves happening left and right, shocking signings, trades, and this year, even cuts. But what about for the Pittsburgh Steelers? Well, as usual, it’s been a steady, not very loud, but very productive offseason. But I’m not here to give a vague description, I’m here to grade how I feel our great stories franchise in Pittsburgh has done up to this point (March 17), in the offseason.
To start, it was known all throughout last season that we’d have to make a choice between Javon Hargrave and Bud Dupree, the team chose Dupree and gave him the franchise tag, and let Hargrave walk, but not far, just in state to Philadelphia. I don’t think this was a terrible move, but it wasn’t great either. I’m going to miss Hargrave but I think Bud is a great player, and hope the acquisition of Chris Wormley from the Ravens can help alleviate the pain of losing Hargrave. Overall I’d give the grade of franchise tagging Bud Dupree a B-, I think a B is slightly too high and a C+ is slightly too low.
A move that I found exciting was the signing of, older brother of TJ, Derek Watt. While it’s cool to have two brothers on the team, I feel that’s secondary to what the signing brings. I feel Derek brings some versatility at fullback and we may even be able to experiment with looks lining him up at tight end. But the biggest upside for Watt so far is his Special Teams play, which he’s one of the best in the league at. I give this signing a B+.
The next move I want to address is the signing of interior lineman Steven Wisniewski. I feel this was an excellent move for the team, Wisniewski is a very reliable pass blocker on the inside and brings position flexibility, having the ability to play at either guard or center. What makes this move even better though is the value at which we signed our newest addition, to call the deal team friendly would be an understatement. Wisniewski definitely looks to make an instant impact following the retirement of long time Steelers guard, and fan favorite, Ramon Foster. I’d grade this acquisition at an A+
By far our highest profile move has been signing former Lions and Colts tight end Eric Ebron to a 2 year 12 million dollar deal. This was a move that surprised me slightly, but not in a negative way. Ebron, while not the best in-line blocker, can be a good stand-up blocker and can definitely create mismatches with linebackers and safeties down the field. Ebron is also a true redzone threat and an electrifying target for our returning, and hopefully fully healthy, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. I’d give signing Ebron a A- or B+ grade but that grade could easily raise.
We have also signed a healthy amount of XFL products, which, I can not lie, I don’t know all that much about from a recent standpoint. I like the move, I feel this brings healthy competition to the team and fosters a culture of opportunity. These are, no doubt, cheap deals and I feel like these signings won’t really make or break the season. I give it a C, I don’t view any negatives or glaring positives, this is a middle of the road move.
Overall it’s been a business as usual offseason for the Steelers, contract restructures, some quiet signings, and maybe one big profile move. No move the Steelers made this offseason felt BAD to me. Overall this offseason, to me, ranges anywhere from a B to an A, with the potential to become A+. Leave your thoughts though, do you agree with my assessment? Is there any move I underrated, or maybe even overrated? Here’s to hoping for a good season on the Stairway to Seven, go Steelers!
cover photo courtesy of flickr.com