We’re from the town with the football team with the great tight end situation, we cheer the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Just when you thought the Steelers were going to leave you wondering how they could go an entire free agency period without making a major move, they go out and sign tight end Eric Ebron to a two-year deal.
That deal was announced on Friday, just one day after it seemed like the signing of veteran guard Stefen Wisniewski was going to be Pittsburgh’s big transaction in free agency.
What does this all mean? It means the Steelers just added a Pro Bowl weapon to their offense. It means Ben Roethlisberger will have one more toy to play with in 2020. It means the tight end position, provided Vance McDonald doesn’t get cut, will now be a major strength. It means the Steelers can run a lot of two-tight end sets next season, and they may not include many with Zach Banner reporting as an eligible receiver.
It means the Steelers can spend that second-round draft pick on another position.
But, most importantly, it means the Steelers are serious about contending next year, and they’re willing to continue to kick the can down the road with restructurings and things of that nature in order to make it happen.
Things don’t look so bad now for an offense that was in serious need of weapons a year ago. Yes, that perception was certainly heightened due to the lack of a Roethlisberger and the inclusion of two very inexperienced and mostly ineffective quarterbacks. But there’s no question something else was missing from the offense in 2019.
Now, if all goes to plan in 2020, starting with a healthy Roethlisberger, the Steelers offense could rebound in a big way. If JuJu Smith-Schuster has a resurgence after an undoubtedly poor 2019, the receiving corps suddenly becomes a strength. If James Conner can stay healthy, there’s no question he has the ability to be a productive running back. And if both McDonald and Ebron were just suffering from a lack of franchise quarterback last year (Ebron recorded only 31 receptions last season for the post-Andrew Luck Colts), you know what that will mean for the tight end position.
Those are a lot of ifs, no doubt. However, on paper, the Steelers offense looks much better than it did at the end of last season. And if it really is much better, it’s hard to picture the Steelers as anything but contenders in 2020.
Either way, the Steelers had a need at the tight end position, and they went out and did something about it.
You have to respect that.