The Pittsburgh Steelers have been through a rough start to the 2021 NFL league year. They have had to sit back and watch the likes of Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree and Matt Feiler, among others, leave the team via free agency.
But they weren’t the only pending free agents for the black and gold. The list of Steelers who are still searching for a home is long, and makes you wonder what exactly will happen to these free agents.
To decipher what will happen, let’s play a little game of ‘Stay or Go’. In this game I will look at all of the remaining free agents who were with the Steelers in 2020, and predict whether they stay with the team in some capacity, or eventually find a home elsewhere.
If you want, you can give your responses in the comment section below and play along!
Let’s get this started...
Alejandro Villanueva — LT — UFA
Villanueva was thought to be a hot commodity on the open market, but that certainly hasn’t come to fruition. Villanueva is getting long in the tooth, and no one really knows what his overall market is as a starting left tackle. He struggled in the run game in 2020, but has proven to still be valuable in pass protection.
Ultimately, Villanueva would cost the Steelers too much money, and the re-signing of Zach Banner cemented his fate.
Avery Williamson — LB — UFA
With the release of Vince Williams, I could actually see value here in retaining Williamson. Williamson is a Vince Williams-type player. Not overly athletic, but good vs. the run. You can find a spot for players like that, but the Steelers won’t be bringing him back unless it is at a bargain bin price.
Jayrone Elliott — EDGE — UFA
Elliott has found his way on the Steelers’ roster the past few years, and it often comes at a time just before the season. There is something about Elliott’s game the Steelers like, but that also doesn’t make him a priority.
I expect a similar script to be followed this season, and Elliott will wind up on the Steelers’ roster at some point, at least on the offseason roster.
Jordan Berry — P — UFA
Berry is a player who always seems to weasel his way back onto the roster. Some say it is because of his holding for Chris Boswell, while others think he has promise as a punter. Personally, I would hope the Steelers could find someone else who could punt and hold as good as Berry, but I also realize he will likely be back in camp kicking for the black and gold in 2021.
Danny Isidora — RG — UFA
Isidora, like Marsh, was a mid-season pick up to fill in when the team lost Matt Feiler due to injury. Barring another injury, I can’t see Isidora returning, especially after the team signed Joe Haeg to a new contract.
Sean Davis — S — UFA
Davis does provide some value to the Steelers, but at what price? Davis hasn’t been the same since he tore his labrum in his shoulder the last year of his rookie contract, and the Steelers signing Miles Killebrew could have been the final nail in the coffin of Davis’ potential return.
Jordan Dangerfield — S — UFA
The Killebrew signing really hurt Dangerfield’s chances of returning, but I still think the Steelers will do their best to bring back their Special Teams captain. It all depends on what Dangerfield is asking in free agency. If they could get Killebrew and Dangerfield, it would be a big boost for the Special Teams, but I don’t see it happening.
James Conner — RB — UFA
Is this a similar situation to JuJu Smith-Schuster? The longer he is on the market, does it increase the likelihood of his return? I don’t think so. I don’t know what kind of market Conner has, but I don’t see the Steelers going out of their way to bring him back.
Jerald Hawkins — RT — UFA
Depending on how the 2021 NFL Draft shakes out, I could see the Steelers putting in a call for Hawkins. If they don’t land a tackle in the draft process, someone like Hawkins could have value, and he would be extremely cheap. Other than this scenario, I don’t see Hawkins returning to the Steelers.
Joshua Dobbs — QB — UFA
There are players who I hope the Steelers bring back, and those who I believe the Steelers will bring back. I think bringing back Dobbs could be a great move for the Steelers, but I don’t think they will. If Dobbs returned to the Steelers he could put some pressure on Dwayne Haskins to earn his spot on the roster. It also could help round out the offseason quarterback depth chart; however, I don’t foresee the Steelers making this move. One of the main reasons I don’t think the Steelers will bring him back is they honestly hope he lands in a spot where he can contribute. If he is still available when camp rolls around, maybe you bring him in on a veteran minimum deal. Until then, I don’t think he returns.
What do you think? Who will stay and go? Let us know in the comment section, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they move through Free Agency and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.