It is hard to believe, but the offseason is officially here. No more games to be played, at least not until August. So now we turn to the offseason, or as I like to call it — the silly season.
There are big dates throughout the offseason which carry significance for every NFL franchise. The start of the new league year in March brings with it free agency, and of course the 2020 NFL Draft brings a new level of excitement for every team as they bring in a new crop of talent for the upcoming campaign.
To me, the offseason is when fans seem to lose grip on reality. The time when they suggest the team should go out and get the most expensive free agent available on the market and think things will just work out.
The purpose of this article is to help remind fans to remain realistic when the new league year arrives. Let me explain...
The first aspect of this equation which needs discussing are the realistic parameters which the Steelers need to manipulate this offseason. Things like salary cap space, players who could be re-signed before free agency and those who will be looking for a new home in 2020. All will have an impact on what the team can do, not what they want to do.
In a perfect world there would be no salary cap in the NFL, which would allow teams to aggressively pursue the biggest and best free agents on the market every year, just like what happens in MLB. But the salary cap does more good than harm, and prevents a level of parity throughout all 32 franchises. For teams like the Steelers, they almost always spend right up to the cap, limiting their ability to get the big fish in the free agent frenzy.
During any of our podcasts, which you can hear in the play below, we are joined by anywhere from 50 to 200 live users who are able to interact with the hosts in the live chat on our YouTube channel. It is here, and in the comment section of articles, where you see some fans suggest the most absurd ideas when it comes to what the Steelers should do this offseason.
“The Steelers should sign Cam Newton.”
Do you really think the Steelers should sign a QB who missed the entire 2019 season with injury, this after their own QB essentially did the same thing with an elbow injury? Oh, and how about the money? Where will the money come from to bring in a player like Newton? The Steelers have around $6 million dollars in salary cap space. I’m sure Cam would love to come to Pittsburgh for what would equate to a near veteran minimum deal.
“The Steelers should keep Javon Hargrave and Bud Dupree.”
Again, $6 million in cap space. Unless they are cutting half of their team this isn’t happening.
“The Steelers should trade back into the first round of the draft.”
This is actually an option, but doing this would handcuff the team even more when it comes to draft capital. The Steelers still like to build their team from within, so making an aggressive play in 2020 after their two aggressive plays in 2019, trading up to draft Devin Bush and trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick, makes this a very unlikely scenario.
As our own Michael Beck pointed out recently in an article, fans should expect a very boring offseason. Why? Because the reality of the situation is the Steelers don’t have the cap space to sign a big name free agent. Will they bring in a free agent or two? Most likely, but they will be more of the serviceable backup/special teams variety.
I love optimism. I am one of the more optimistic Steelers fans you will ever encounter. But when it comes to the Steelers this offseason, it might be better the dabble in some realism, and that reality is the Steelers will go about their business as usual with very little fanfare.