The Pittsburgh Steelers have an issue at the safety position, and while most are awaiting the news of Mike Mitchell being released, no one expected J.J. Wilcox to even be in the equation as a potential answer at the position.
Yet, a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler suggests Wilcox could be in the mix to stay with the team, if they decide to part ways with Mitchell.
Steelers recently expressed interest to J.J. Wilcox about returning in 2018, per source. Team must make decisions at safety b/c of large cap # for Mike Mitchell ($5 M)/Wilcox ($3.125 M), and though nothing finalized, Wilcox a candidate to return, possibly under reworked figure— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 1, 2018
Besides position, the one thing Mitchell and Wilcox both have in common is their high price tags entering the 2018-2019 season. As stated by Fowler, Wilcox is due $3.125 million next season, and Mitchell is due a whopping $5 million. It isn’t how these numbers are huge, but when you compare them to their play it is ridiculously high.
Mitchell battled injuries, again, in 2017, and looked like a shell of himself in the back end. Missing tackles, taking bad angles and being slow in coverage have become par for the course for Mitchell. On the other hand, Wilcox was remembered more for special teams penalties last season, some of the disastrous variety, than his play as a safety.
Either way, it looks as if the Steelers are viewing Wilcox as an option, but he will have to take a pay cut for this to work out. If he isn’t willing to do so, the Steelers will likely just cut ties with him and continue their search for a safety in free agency, as well as the 2018 NFL Draft.
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