Pittsburgh Steelers Offseason Blueprint

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

Photo Courtesy of Pat Pryor

Written By: Roy Countryman @PreacherBoyRoy

The 2018 season for the Steelers was filled with disappointments and a ton of drama. From the decision by Le’Veon Bell to sit out the entirety of the season to preserve his body for free agency to Antonio Brown deciding to not show up for the final games walkthrough that eventually led to him being deactivated in a game where they still had a chance to make the playoffs, this team is due for a facelift and an adjustment in their attitude as a whole. Mike Tomlin is a quality head coach, and they have a veteran GM in Kevin Colbert that has a proven track record in being able to acquire talent, but the NFL world will eagerly sit back this offseason as they see how they likely shed two of their top offensive skill players, and still try to piece together a competitive team for 2019.

Available Salary Cap Space- $19,398,485

Free Agents


Le’Veon Bell- RB

Ramon Foster- OG

L.J. Fort- LB

Jesse James-TE

Coty Sensabaugh- CB

Jordan Berry- P

Leterrius Walton-DE

Anthony Chickillo- OLB

Daniel McCullers- DT

Justin Hunter- WR

Stevan Ridley- RB

Darrius Heyward-Bey- WR

Nat Berhe- S


B.J. Finney- OG/C

Xavier Grimble- TE


Mike Hilton- NCB

Matt Feiler- OT/OG

Jake McGee- TE

Joseph Cheek- OT

Keith Kelsey- LB

Malik Golden- S

Notable UFA with special circumstances

*Both players were on PUP List past 6 weeks, which should toll their contracts to the 2019 season.*

Ryan Shazier- LB

Eli Rogers- WR

Players already resigned

Kameron Canaday- LS

Jordan Dangerfield- S

Zach Banner- OT

Tyson Alualu-DL

Potential Cap Casualties (Bold = Dead Money, Italics = Cap Gain)

Bud Dupree- OLB ($0) ($9,232,000)

5th Year Option has to be cut prior to the start of the new league year on March 13th. If they cut him after that date these sums flip and they incur a $9.232 million dead cap hit, and no added cap space.

Marcus Gilbert- RT ($1,728,500) ($4,915,103)

Morgan Burnett- S ($2,833,334) ($3,633,332)

Post-June 1st: ($1,416,666) ($5,050,000)

Jon Bostic- LB ($700,000) ($1,800,000)

*All figures for cap purposes are taken as pre-June 1st unless otherwise stated. All cap figures courtesy of Overthecap.com, unless otherwise stated*

Team Needs








Even more than a certain position, they need high character players to help heal the black eye of all these off-field issues and drama.

Draft pick Allotment

1st Round #20

2nd Round #52

3rd Round #84

4th Round #116

6th Round (from Oakland) #162

6th Round #180

7th Round (from Tampa Bay) #197

Mock Offseason

Coaches Fired/ Left for another Job

Mike Munchak- OL Coach (Denver OL)

James Saxon- RB Coach (Arizona RB)

Joey Porter- OLB Coach

Coaches Hired/ New Assignment Added (Previous Job)

Keith Butler- Defensive Coordinator added OLB Coaching Duties

Shaun Sarrett- OL Coach promoted from Assistant OL Coach

Teryl Austin- Senior Defensive Assistant/ Secondary (Bengals DC in 2018)

Eddie Faulkner- RB Coach (RB Coach N.C. State)

Eddie Klemm- Assistant OL Coach (Former NFL OL w/ Patriots, UCLA)

Players Re-signed

L.J. Fort- LB

Ramon Foster-G

Anthony Chickillo- OLB

B.J. Finney-OG/C (RFA)

Mike Hilton-NCB (ERFA) (Long Term Deal)

Matt Feiler-OT/OG (ERFA)

Jake McGee-TE (ERFA)

Ben Roethlisberger- QB (2020 FA-Extension)

Maurkice Pouncey- C (2020 FA-Extension)

Joe Haden- CB (2020 FA-Extension)

Javon Hargrave- DT (2020 FA-Extension)

Sean Davis- S (2020 FA-Extension)

Cap Casualties

Bud Dupree- OLB ($0) ($9,232,000)

Marcus Gilbert- RT ($1,728,500) ($4,915,103)

Morgan Burnett- S Post-June 1st: ($1,416,666) ($5,050,000)


Steelers get: 1st Round Pick #27 and 5th Round Pick #131

Oakland gets: Antonio Brown

Free Agent Targets

Preston Smith-DE/OLB (Washington Redskins)

Coming off a 4 sack season right before you become an unrestricted free agent may alarm some teams, but Smith will still have a deep market. The Steelers showed a ton of interest in Smith previously in the year he was drafted by bringing him in for a pre-draft visit, which this front office values in getting to know the player. This will be an expensive deal, but he is a versatile pass rusher who can fit both as a down pass rusher in a 4-3 or as a standup 3-4 OLB, which is where Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin see this defense evolving into. This will be there #1 target going into free agency.

Michael Pierce- DT (Baltimore Ravens) (RFA-2nd Round Tender)

If Smith is the #1 target then Pierce should be 1B. A mammoth of a nose tackle who simply can shut down rushing lanes with his strength, and is an underrated pass rusher he could singlehandedly help the coaching staff reimagine this defense. When Ryan Shazier went out with his horrific injury everyone points to that as the reason the Steelers get gashed when a team decides to run the ball, yes it did hurt, but they also moved to a more upfield penetrating style along the DL that also contributed to the weakness. Pierce is an RFA and will be tendered one of the highest levels, and for this exercise, he was tendered at the 2nd Rd. tender. With the extra draft capital that they get in the AB trade, it may ease the worry of having to surrender that 2nd round pick for a dominant interior presence.

Jamison Crowder- WR (Washington Redskins)

When healthy Crowder has been a dynamic target for whoever has been the QB in Washington. Mostly lined up in the slot he is quick in and out of his breaks, and can simply leave defenders grasping for air. He also has the speed to press the field vertically and is not afraid of making combat catches. I think he has the ability to play outside as well, and he is an excellent route runner. He would immediately step into the equation of making up for the lost production of AB.

Eric Weddle- FS (Baltimore Ravens) (Cap Casualty)

Before Weddle signed with the Ravens, he had given serious thought of joining the Patriots and the Steelers as well. Big Ben has a great relationship with Weddle and if he is released for cap purposes in Baltimore I would love to see him try and recruit him to the Steel City. At 34 he is slowing down, but he was one of the surest tacklers and best coverage safeties in the game last season. Not only that but his intellect, leadership ability, and instincts would be a welcomed addition to this defense. Even if he would have to drop down into a Dimebacker type role in sub packages while he helps to bring along the two young safeties in Terrell Edmunds and Sean Davis.

Maxx Williams- TE (Baltimore Ravens)

Williams is a former 2nd Round draft pick that the Steelers had a keen interest in during the draft, which led to the Ravens trading up before the Steelers pick to select him. Williams has had to deal with the injury bug throughout his career, but last season was finally healthy and showed flashes of his skill set as both a move blocker and a receiving threat. I can see the Steelers taking a gamble on a kid they held in high regard and give him an opportunity to become a quality #2 TE behind Vance McDonald.

Cameron Artis-Payne- RB (Carolina Panthers)

The Steelers are plenty familiar with Artis-Payne’s skill set being they play the Panthers every year in the preseason, and that is where he has gotten his most playing time. A quick-footed, power RB who showed the ability to allow his blocks to develop he would be a quality RB to add to the RB room behind James Conner and Jaylen Samuels. He also has the added value to contribute on special teams.

Mock Draft

1st Round: Byron Murphy, CB (Washington)

1st Round (from Oakland): Deebo Samuel, WR (South Carolina)

2nd Round: Surrendered to the Ravens for signing Michael Pierce

3rd Round: Bobby Okereke, LB (Stanford)

4th Round: Khalen Saunders, DL (Western Illinois)

5th Round (from Oakland): Jordan Brailford, Edge (Oklahoma State)

6th Round (from Oakland): Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR (North Carolina)

6th Round: Josiah Tauaefa, LB (UTSA)

7th Round: Trevon Wesco, TE (West Virginia)

Keep a lookout for more offseason blueprints as we get closer to the start of the new league year!

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