clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

4 Winners and 3 Losers for the Steelers through the early stages of Free Agency

New, comments

The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t made a ton of moves, but those moves have created a ripple effect throughout the roster. We break down the Winners and Losers to date.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have finally started to partake in NFL Free Agency, and with the acquisitions of Jon Bostic and Morgan Burnett, there is a ripple effect throughout the roster.

When players are acquired, there are others who will be impacted by those transactions. This is where the Free Agency Winners and Losers is born. Identifying players who have suffered from additions, and some who have benefited from the free agency period.

This can, and likely will, continue to change as the Steelers are not done making moves, and very well could still release and/or sign other players. So, without further ado, the first Winners and Losers after the Steelers’ first wave of free agency.

Winners

Vance McDonald

There were some, albeit not many, who thought McDonald could be a cap casualty considering his hefty salary for the 2018 season, and while the team could still part ways with McDonald, technically, it is highly unlikely. So, for McDonald, he is a big winner considering he is staying in Pittsburgh, and I would go as far to saying the team is a winner because of McDonald’s dual threat capabilities as a blocker and pass catcher...if he can stay healthy.

J.J. Wilcox

Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden were released, but somehow Wilcox remained on the team, for the time being. For reasons unbeknownst to the fan base, the Steelers see something in Wilcox they like, but there is still a chance the team lets Wilcox go if they draft a high profile safety in the upcoming NFL Draft. But as for right now, Wilcox is still employed by the team after they gutted their defensive secondary.

Daniel McCullers

When everyone penciled McCullers in as an Unrestricted Free Agent who would be allowed to go elsewhere, the Steelers brought him back for at least another season with a new one-year contract. Ignore the fact it is a veteran minimum contract, and there is no guarantee he makes the team’s 53-man roster, McCullers bought himself at least another chance in the Steel City.

Jerald Hawkins

Chris Hubbard was picked up by the Cleveland Browns to anchor one side of their offensive line, and this means a promotion for the former LSU tackle. After a promising start to his rookie season, which ended on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury, his sophomore campaign was a roller coaster. Hawkins made the team, but was regularly inactive, even throughout Marcus Gilbert’s injuries and suspension. By the end of the season the team had more faith in Hawkins, and he will have to step up his game if he wants to be the swing tackle Hubbard was for the team.

Losers

Tyler Matakevich

After Ryan Shazier’s injury, many wondered why Sean Spence was signed and Tyler Matakevich wasn’t inserted into the lineup. After all, the standard is the standard. While Matakevich was nursing a shoulder injury, which required offseason surgery, it was also evident he isn’t the answer alongside Vince Williams. The signing of Jon Bostic means Matakevich will be relegated to special teams and backup duties again.

Jordan Dangerfield

Although realistic fans knew the team had to make a move in free agency at the safety position, Dangerfield was the only player outside of Sean Davis who had any real NFL experience. After Morgan Burnett was signed, and the team will likely continue to add at the safety position, it might be Dangerfield who is out of a job when the dust settles. This is where you insert the class Rodney Dangerfield “no respect” line.

Sean Davis

Before readers freak out of Davis being in the loser list, it isn’t because of his play, or his social media escapades. No, it is because of the potential position change he will possibly undergo. Mike Tomlin spoke at the NFL Owners Meeting recently and stated they aren’t sure if Davis will move from Strong Safety to Free Safety or not. A lot depends on Burnett and where he best fits within the Steelers’ scheme. This will be tough on Davis, who hasn’t had the best start to his NFL career, and any change in position for him could be accompanied by some growing pains...which isn’t a good situation for the team.