The new league year is right around the corner, and as NFL teams prepare to find out what the 2021 salary cap number will be, organizations prepare to try and find some answers to their roster questions via free agency.
This is an easy task for some teams who have plenty of salary cap space, but for teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are bellied up to the cap, signing free agents will be a challenge. With that said, it is worth noting there are other teams who will be cutting veterans due to their salary cap hits, which could mean vested veterans looking for a home and a lower price tag.
Could the Steelers actually be buyers in this market? To an extent, yes, but a lot of work has to be done before they can officially be searching the market for new players. In the meantime, NFL.com recently labeled the best “fit” for every NFL team, and they have the Steelers get a former Seattle Seahawks running back. None other than Chris Carson.
See what they have to say about their selection for the black and gold:
Chris Carson, RB
Pittsburgh’s ground game fell to pieces behind PFF’s second-worst run-blocking unit in 2020. With left tackle Alejandro Villanueva a free agent and veteran center Maurkice Pouncey out the door, in-the-red Pittsburgh is in a pinch. The Steelers could use a runner with a proven track record of creating his own opportunities. Carson is a punishing pile of bricks who generates missed tackles and yards after contact. He’d bring a dose of toughness to a run attack that looked Pop Warner-esque in 2020.
Carson is coming off a season where he only played in 12 games, but was able to put up the following statistics in limited action:
Yards Receiving: 287
Receiving TDs: 4
Carson being added to a running back room with Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland and Jaylen Samuels would round out the room nicely. It also would mean the Steelers wouldn’t need to draft a running back early in the 2021 NFL Draft, but the Steelers certainly have options with what direction they want to go in the upcoming selection process.
What about some of the other Steelers free agents? Where does the league’s official website have some of them going?
To start, they have JuJu Smith-Schuster being the perfect fit for the New York Jets. See why:
New York Jets
The Jets rest in enviable territory with a bathtub of money and a flock of high picks. Needs exist all over, but the quarterback — whether it’s Deshaun Watson, Sam Darnold or fill-in-the-blank — deserves better than last year’s half-baked (or excessively baked) roster. Reliable Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler noted New York was ”taking a look” at JuJu along with Will Fuller. Just 24, Smith-Schuster would arrive as a smart, hard-working wideout with an unknown ceiling and a penchant for TikTok jigs. Whoever they nab, look for new play-caller Mike LaFleur to flip the switch on offense. This won’t be the same old train that veers off a cliff and tumbles 400 yards before landing on another moving train down below filled with clowns and unsupervised animals of the forest.
The only other Steelers free agent who they deemed as a best fit was Mike Hilton, who they had being a perfect target for the San Francisco 49ers. See why they think this:
San Francisco 49ers
Mike Hilton, CB
The 49ers are going to say goodbye to Richard Sherman and likely Jason Verrett, and they also need to get younger at the position. A favorite of mine for the last couple of seasons because of his flair for being in the right place at the right time, Hilton would be an excellent fit in the 49ers’ defense. With around $12.5 million in cap space, San Francisco has the funds to make this happen and shore up its secondary in the process.
What do you think of all these predictions? Do you think the Steelers are a team who could logistically add a player like Carson? Would you even like it if they did add Carson to their lineup? What about the other free agents and their landing spots? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.