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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ free agent subtractions

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BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers for letting six free agents seek and find other opportunities.

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers had 12 free agents that they needed to make decisions on and they made decisions to retain half of them. The half that they let walk will be missed in different capacities. These were tough decisions by the Steelers front office and time will tell whether they were made the right moves. All of these moves will be scrutinized. That’s our job and yours.

For some reason, I’ve been given the responsibility to rate the performance of Kevin Colbert, Omar Khan and company on nothing but speculation. It’s not easy, but I’ll give it a whirl. Despite my less than prestigious BTSC teaching certificate, I have to issue the necessary disclaimer. You know the story; of course, I’m not a football coach, or a teacher, but I play one in blogs and podcasts. All offseason, I had certain expectations that the Steelers would have to be quarantined because of no cap space...but they found some magic beans.

Grading personnel decisions is even tougher than grading games. We have to wait nearly six months to actually know if our grades our on the money. This offseason, I decided to enlist my friends at BTSC to assist me and they did it well. On this one, I decided to go it alone.

With that being electronically said, let’s take a look at BTSC’s early perceptions:


Javon Hargrave: C+

This is a tough one to grade. It is true that the Steelers lost Hargrave to the Eagles when he signed with the cross-state rival Eagles for $39 million. But did they lose him or choose not to keep the nose tackle who garnered six sacks last season. It was inevitable that Colbert, Khan and Company couldn’t keep both defenders at the price they both warranted. They picked the OLB position for one year when they signed Bud Dupree over a NT that isn’t always on the field a majority of the time. Hate to see J-Wobble go, but losing Hargrave means a potential high comp pick at least.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers offseason free agency decision of letting Javon Hargrave walk?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    A
    (287 votes)
  • 41%
    B
    (779 votes)
  • 28%
    C
    (528 votes)
  • 11%
    D
    (210 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (73 votes)
1877 votes total Vote Now

Tyler Matakevich: A+

The Steelers would have liked to keep their special teams captain for a little over the league minimum if they had unlimited roster space, but the Bills ponied up $4.5 million for a cool nickname but a liability at linebacker. Congrats “Dirty Red” on the new deal.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers offseason free agency loss of Dirty Red?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    A
    (1154 votes)
  • 20%
    B
    (347 votes)
  • 8%
    C
    (151 votes)
  • 3%
    D
    (59 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (14 votes)
1725 votes total Vote Now

B.J. Finney: B

I don’t think the Steelers really saw Finney as a legitimate starter. It was in inevitable when they wouldn’t trust him to play against Aaron Donald when the Rams played in Pittsburgh in November. After subbing for Maurkice Pouncey and tripping up Mason Rudolph on his first play in, I think their minds were made up. Finney was a solid backup, but he’s getting huge money ($8M/2 Years) from Seattle. The Steelers signing of Stefan Wisniewski makes them older here, but he comes cheaper and may be a better player.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers offseason free agency decision of letting B.J. Finney leave for Seattle?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    A
    (622 votes)
  • 36%
    B
    (612 votes)
  • 18%
    C
    (315 votes)
  • 5%
    D
    (95 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (27 votes)
1671 votes total Vote Now

Artie Burns: A

Drew Rosenhaus must be an incredible salesman to get Chicago to pony up $1,047,500 for a guy whose surname tells it all. But, then again, Chicago has made suspect moves lately by overpaying for Jimmy Graham, acquiring a glorified backup (Nick Foles) and his enormous contract and trading up one spot for Mitch Trubisky. Too bad that Drew and Artie couldn’t get more out of “Da Bears” to get the Steelers another compensatory pick.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers offseason free agency loss of Artie Burns?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    A
    (1502 votes)
  • 5%
    B
    (92 votes)
  • 2%
    C
    (40 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (27 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (19 votes)
1680 votes total Vote Now

Sean Davis: B

Davis went to high school in the District and college nearby at Maryland. Hurt all of last season, the Terp got a new $4M deal on potential. He would have been a good depth keep at the minimum, but the Redskins aren’t strangers to parting with money for marginal players at luxury prices.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers offseason free agency loss of Sean Davis?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    A
    (644 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (641 votes)
  • 19%
    C
    (317 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (45 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (12 votes)
1659 votes total Vote Now

Nick Vannett: A

The Steelers are paying for Vance McDonald and Eric Ebron, so keeping a guy who hated being in Seattle and Pittsburgh wasn’t going to happen. Denver overpaid for an average TE. Thanks for the potential comp pick.

Poll

Will the free agency loss of Nick Vannett be significant to the Steelers?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Yes
    (158 votes)
  • 90%
    No
    (1537 votes)
1695 votes total Vote Now

Overall Grade: A

The only significant loss here is Hargrave, but that ended up being a business decision. Finney, Matakevich and Vannett have been replaced and the Steelers potentially upgraded at their positions. Burns is an addition by subtraction. Davis was a guy that was better when healthy, but would have been a backup behind Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick.


Now it’s your turn to decide. Let us know in the polls and the comments section below.