Many Steelers fans (myself included) will play armchair General Manager this time of year. Making up offers for top free agents, putting together packages to move up in the draft, or giving the imaginary ax to players we don't feel give this team the best opportunity to win.
2019 was an anomaly for the Steelers management. Trading up for Devin Bush and dealing for Minkah Fitzpatrick are moves Steelers fans aren't accustomed to seeing. But don't expect such bold moves for Kevin Colbert and Co. two years in-a-row, and I’m expecting a return to the status quo in 2020.
When it comes to player retention it doesn't appear that many surprises are on the horizon. The facts are Bud Dupree is looked highly upon by management and likely receives another deal. While Javon Hargrave’s price tag will be too high for the Steelers to extend his services.
But when it comes to player cuts I can't imagine the long list of possible cap casualties actually end-up being shown the door. The Steelers spend most of whatever cap space becomes available to bring back Dupree. But with only 5 (or 6 depending on the compensatory formula) draft picks and the highest being the 49th selection, the Steelers won't be able to plug up every roster hole with first year pros. I could imagine a world where either Vance McDonald, Mark Barron, or Ramon Foster are still on the roster come training camp. While that might be surprising some of those guys might just be the best option heading into next season.
Then comes the draft. When the Steelers are on the clock with there 49th section you might be screaming at the TV scream for a stud Running back, Tight End or even a Quarterback, but looking at the aging Offensive Line I wouldn't put it past them to re-energize the unit by injecting some youth with their top pick. I could only imagine the Twitter replies now; however, it might just be the right call. Protecting Ben Roethlisberger and whoever else might be under center next for the Pittsburgh Steelers, should be a priority.
And lastly, free agency, I’m sure a few of us would like the team to change one of its core philosophies, but if you're holding your breath for Derrick Henry, Eric Ebron or Amari Cooper to sign on the dotted line — you're going to be disappointed.
The moral of the story is don't expect fireworks in 2020. I know that the tight cap, low picks, and one of your least favorite players squeaking through to see another year might disappoint you. But if you're at least prepared for it, the pill may be easier to swallow.