In times likes these (I believe it’s a great example of how fast this all has moved that we’re already using phrases like “Times like these” like a week after these times started), everything is uncertain. You don’t know what’s going to happen next. You don’t know what’s going to go down today, tonight, tomorrow, etc.
But I do know that the Steelers signed safety Jordan Dangerfield to a one-year contract on Friday (I know we’re supposed to verify and double-check sources of information in times like these, but I saw it on Facebook).
Anyway, that makes me, well, nothing. The signing of Dangerfield doesn’t make me feel any kind of way, and let me tell you, bub, that feels good. Yes, much like George Bailey when he realized he was alive and still missing $8,000, I’m so glad to have that back in my life.
The Steelers underwhelming me in free agency. The Steelers signing a Watt, Derek Watt, to be precise, to do...what? Play fullback? For the Steelers? Lots of special teams, too, since he led the league in special teams tackles last year. I know a signing like that won’t earn Pittsburgh one of those fancy “A” grades football sites hand out immediately after the first day of unrestricted free agency concludes.
Neither will the decision to cut Anthony Chickillo, Johnny Holton and Mark Barron just to make enough room to comply with the salary cap/franchise tag Bud Dupree.
And what’s with the decision to let reserve guard/center/long-time starter in-waiting B.J. Finney quickly run off into the sunset? Same for Tyler Matakevich...okay, nobody really seemed to care about that. Back to Finney. The guy was very good as a fill-in at both guard and center during his short stay with the Steelers. Why not make him a serious offer to be the replacement at left guard for Ramon Foster, who announced his retirement on Monday? (OK, that was a bit of a shocker, but we knew he would be gone one way or another.)
All of those moves were necessary because, in addition to the money they suddenly had tied up in Dupree, that darn Big Ben Roethlisberger’s bloated salary was just eating up so much cap space.
That’s why the Steelers can’t make the Internet’s dream come true and sign Jameis Winston to be Roethlisberger’s replacement/heir apparent.
If only they had the salary cap space to play with, they could throw the kind of money at Winston that the Browns’ gave to Case Keenum to be Baker Mayfield’s backup in 2020.
They could also sign an offensive guard.
Wait a minute, they did that. Stefen Wisniewski, formally of Pittsburgh, formally of Penn State, and a 31-year old pro who has started 103 games at both guard and center for four different teams over the span of his nine years in the NFL.
Certainly not sexy. He may not even be the caliber of Finney. But he’s at least decent depth for an offensive line that was suddenly compromised due to the aforementioned departures.
Very Steeler-like. Not fancy. Not fun. Nothing to really make you feel like a “winner” in March. But it makes sense.
Would it have made sense to keep both Finney and right tackle Matt Feiler, a restricted free agent? Sure. But we knew they weren’t going to be able to keep both of those guys, Bud or no Bud. They had to choose, and they chose to tender the more proven starter at the more vital position.
Right move? I guess we’ll see.
It’s also familiar to feel disgusted with all those brilliant moves other teams in the AFC North have made. For example, the Ravens acquired defensive end Calais Campbell from the Jaguars in exchange for a fifth-round draft choice. That’s going to make Baltimore much more stout in the trenches. Speaking of which, the Ravens also agreed to a deal with defensive lineman Michael Brockers—double stout.
If all of this makes you uneasy, it shouldn’t.
At the end of the day, this was always how it was going to go down. With very few exceptions, this is how it usually does down for the Steelers in March.
When will it stop going down like this for Pittsburgh? When Roethlisberger finally retires. But while his presence often prevents the Steelers from winning many races in March, up until now, it has mostly helped them remain in the race from September-December.
Therefore, in times like these, embrace this normal feeling of the Steelers underwhelming you in free agency.
Update!!!! Ding, ding, ding! The Steelers just signed tight end Eric Ebron to a two-year deal. Forget what I just said (truthfully, this all went down after I wrote this article, and I don’t feel like changing it), give me sexy. Give me those good vibes.
Maybe they really will sign Jameis Winston, after all.