After the team picked up Ladarius Green at the onset of free agency, the team also added former Steelers tight end/fullback David Johnson on Monday.
#Steelers have signed TE David Johnson. Spent last two seasons with San Diego, but four years with Pittsburgh before that— Dale Lolley (@dlolleyor) May 17, 2016
The move has many people shaking their heads asking, "What?!"
However, it shouldn't come to a shock to anyone, but Johnson could certainly play a role on the Steelers' 2016 roster. What role would that be? The same role vacated when Will Johnson signed a new contract with the New York Giants.
Will Johnson was the player who could play special teams, fullback and tight end. Johnson can do all of those things as well, and not only has the versatility Mike Tomlin loves, but also the knowledge and experience of the Steelers organization.
Will Johnson dressed for every game in 2016, but rarely was used outside of depth purposes. Roosevelt Nix has become the starting fullback in any situation which calls for the position to be deployed, and the only way he saw the field as a tight end was due to injury, or situations where the team was in a goal line position.
Look for David Johnson to fill the same role vacated by Will Johnson. He won't beat our Roosevelt Nix at fullback, and certainly won't hinder Matt Spaeth, Jesse James or Ladarius Green on the tight end depth chart. What he will do is give the Steelers a lead blocker if Nix goes down, and if someone like Speath -- who is a primary blocking TE -- is lost for any amount of time, he can fill that role accordingly.
Johnson's signing was a depth move, but it doesn't decrease its importance to the team. The Steelers are masters at these types of moves which eventually make fans say, "Ooooh yeah. That's why they signed that guy!" This could very well be one of those transactions. It may not be flashy, but it certainly could pay dividends. Let's hope David Johnson is up to the task.