Last night I did a special Free Agency podcast with my partner in crime Lance Williams, and we started the show talking about none other then the lone addition to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster thus far in free agency — Derek Watt.
I listened to Lance tell me why the addition of a fullback is ridiculous, why the Steelers needed so much more and how he lamented the team’s overall decision making.
My response to his vitriol over the move was simple...
“What were your expectations coming into Free Agency?”
I mentioned the ridiculous contracts players were receiving in around the league, and how the Steelers would not be able to pay any of those players that amount.
I added how we all knew the team’s situation heading into the Free Agency period. We knew about their salary cap situation, we knew the cuts which were going to need to be made. And we knew all about the financial status of the team if/when they decided to place the franchise tag on Bud Dupree.
In other words, since these were all known facts, what were fans expecting? Were they expecting a high caliber player to take half of what other teams were offering to come and play for Pittsburgh? If so, you must not be an ardent follower of the NFL. These players know the shelf life of their careers, and will cash in when the offer arises. I’m sure Javon Hargrave would have loved to stay in Pittsburgh, but when the Philadelphia Eagles offered him the 3-year contract worth $39 million dollars, he had no choice but to take it.
But back to the matter at hand, if you were someone who has been screaming from the mountain tops about the Steelers in free agency, what were you expecting? The signing of Derek Watt helped fill a void on special teams vacated by Tyler Matakevich leaving for the Buffalo Bills, and the possibility of utilizing a fullback more in the offense in 2020.
However, just because the Steelers have been quiet so far doesn’t mean they won’t be making any moves. Will they be moves which scorch the NFL landscape, like the Houston Texans trading Deandre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals? Nope, but they could be valuable assets to the team.
The Steelers have slowly been restructuring contracts, and not just because they think it is fun, but because they are about to make some moves. This from Mark Kaboly of The Athletic:
Remember, the Steelers restructure to what they need. They aren't going to restructure $20M worth of contracts if they only need $12M— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) March 19, 2020
The list of restructured contracts so far:
The Steelers could still restructure players like David DeCastro and Stephon Tuitt to free up more space, and they have a reason for doing so.
I guess in hindsight the past few years Steelers fans have gotten used to a signing which raises eyebrows on Day 1. Derek Watt certainly raised eyebrows, but not necessarily in a good way. Last year it was Steven Nelson who set new marks for a free agent cornerback, but this year has seen the Steelers return more to their norm. Taking a wait-and-see approach and finding value in the players who’s value has suddenly decreased.
Yes, the Steelers will be making some moves over the coming days, but fans should have realized this was the reality when the 2020 Free Agency period began. We knew this would happen, so adjust your expectations accordingly.