clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Heath Miller's retirement decimates an already thin Steelers TE depth chart

As fans struggle to picture the Pittsburgh Steelers without Heath Miller, the franchise now has to look at how they will replace him on the 2016 depth chart.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

While fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers wear their No. 83 jerseys now as a tip of the cap to Heath Miller and his 11-year career with the black and gold, the Steelers organization doesn't have the time to sit back and think about all those incredible catches over the middle of the field where Miller took a wicked shot to the head, and still held onto the ball.

No, the team now has to move forward, and has to do so quickly.

Before the news of Miller's retirement Friday, the team was looking at a fairly solid tight end depth chart entering the 2016 season. Heath Miller with one year left on his contract would be the starter, Jesse James showing a tremendous amount of upside entering his second season, Matt Spaeth being the blocking tight end the team uses so frequently to help in specific running situations, and possibly the addition of a draft pick or free agent to help fill any holes left on the depth chart.

However, with Miller now out of the equation, the cupboard looks mighty bare as you re-open the door, doesn't it? Matt Spaeth and Jesse James. That's it folks. The only two tight ends on the team with experience within the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.

So, where does the team go from here? Well, tight end is no longer a luxury pick which could be addressed in the draft, but if they chose to wait it won't be a huge issue. No, the team now has to draft a tight end in the 2016 NFL Draft, and possibly earlier than they were just 24 hours ago.

It doesn't stop there. The team will also have to look at free agents who are on the open market who could help fill the giant void left by Miller's retirement. Who could some of those free agents be? The Los Angeles Rams released Jared Cook Friday, and along with several other candidates, the Steelers will likely take their time in making a decision.

Putting it into simple terms, the Steelers now need to address tight end both in the draft and in free agency as a must, and not just a possibility.