The past 10 days have been quite eventful for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Let’s take a look at what’s going on with the Steelers with these questions:
1) Did the Steelers actually get a free agent?
No, they got two! The Steelers never get the big names in free agency but they addressed major needs. They signed inside linebacker Jon Bostic from the Colts to a 2 year deal for up to $4 million with a $1.4 million signing bonus. Bostic, 26 years old, is 6’1″, 245 lbs had a career high 97 tackles with the Colts last year. He is known as a run-stopper but not as good in coverage. He has had a history of injuries.
They also addressed their need at safety by signing Morgan Burnett from the Packers for a 3 year deal worth $14.5 million. He is extremely versatile; in Green Bay he lined up at both safety positions, cornerback and linebacker.
So what does this mean for the defense? Will they use Bostic on early downs and Burnett as a linebacker in passing downs? Will Sean Davis still be the strong safety, switch to free safety, or will he be a backup as Cam Sutton converts to safety? How will this affect who the Steelers draft?
2) What’s the latest on Le’Veon Bell?
Not much. GM Kevin Colbert spoke to members of the media and said free agency and draft preparation are taking precedence over contract negotiations with Bell.
“We are where we are,” Colbert said. “We’re not intentionally ignoring (signing him). It’s just that more urgent business has to be taken care of. We’ll reassess where we are. He’ll reassess where he is and interests are, as well. I anticipate we’ll get back to that once we get through the free agency period and maybe even through the draft. You don’t know. The draft can change things on both sides.”
Change things on both sides? What does that mean?? The Steelers will meet with top running back prospect Derrius Guice during the LSU pro day. Does this mean they’ll draft Guice in the first round and rescind the franchise tag from Bell? Probably not, but there is a possibility that Bell sits out until week 10 so the Steelers have to be prepared.
3) Is Martavis Bryant getting traded?
The conventional wisdom would say the answer to that is ‘no way’ since Bryant is on the last year of his contract and no team would want him because of his drug suspensions. But while speaking to reporters, Kevin Colbert said:
“Martavis is with us. There may be inquiries that come along, but we have no intention of trading him,” said Colbert. “With that being said, when we get into the draft preparation, we contact every team every year and we always exchange ‘what are you looking for,’ and ‘what might be available,’ just so we have that type of information going into the draft, but right now we have no intention of trading him.”
Right now we have no intention of trading him? Does that mean 5 minutes from now he’s on the block?
4) What will they do with Bud Dupree?
The Steelers have until May 3 to decide if they’re going to exercise the option to keep Dupree through 2019. He’ll make $1.7 million in 2018 but if the Steelers exercise the option, he’ll make $9.5 million in 2019.
Has Dupree been a disappointment so far? In 3 seasons he’s had 90 tackles, 14.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. The Steelers still have the option of releasing him next year if they do exercise the option.
5) Who will the Steelers draft?
Before free agency, it was almost a certainty that the Steelers would draft a linebacker or safety in the first round. What do they do now since they addressed those needs in free agency? Here are their main options:
Inside Linebacker: Many mock drafts have the Steelers taking either Leighton Vander Esch from Boise State or Rashaan Evans from Alabama. These are the most likely picks.
Edge: Bleacher Report has the Steelers taking Marcus Davenport. He’s projected to go in the top 20 picks.
Safety: Some mock drafts have the Steelers taking safety Ronnie Harrison from Alabama, even though they signed Morgan Burnett.
Quarterback: The Steelers have met with Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph twice now, once in a formal interview at the NFL Scouting Combine and again at the Oklahoma State pro day.
Running Back: The Steelers are reportedly interested in LSU running back Derrius Guice, but that could just be a smokescreen.