The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of free agents this offseason, and we play a game of one, both or none.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a ridiculous number of free agents this offseason. So many you have to wonder who, if any, the Steelers will be able to retain. With that said, when I was submitting questions for the readers for our Friday Night Six Pack last week, I decided to ask fans who they would take if they just had to choose between two pending Steelers free agents.
I decided to keep it simple by only using Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs), and you can complete the below exercise in one of two ways. You can take a look at the two free agents and say what you think will happen, or you can take the approach of who you think the Steelers will keep.
For instance, you might want to the Steelers to keep Mike Hilton over Cam Sutton, but you might also believe Sutton will be the one the Steelers can afford/will keep. How you approach this exercise is completely up to you. Of course, if you want to head down to the comment section to explain yourself, feel free!
Let’s get this party started…
Mike Hilton / Cam Sutton
The Hilton vs. Sutton debate has been raging for almost the entire season. Fans knew both would be free agents and a decision would have to be made. The Steelers would be foolish to not want to sign both, but the reality of this happening is slim. Hilton has played well enough, and the slot cornerback is valuable enough, I don’t see the Steelers keeping Hilton. I do think there is a tremendous amount of value in Sutton, especially if the Steelers cut Joe Haden due to salary cap issues.
My Prediction: Steelers re-sign Sutton, Hilton goes elsewhere
James Conner / JuJu Smith-Schuster
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I wish the Steelers would be able to find a way to keep Smith-Schuster. While I feel Conner is expendable, Smith-Schuster still provides a ton of value to the Steelers’ offense, even with his pre-game antics and Tik Tok dances. I wish the Steelers could keep Smith-Schuster, but I don’t see it happening.
My Prediction: Steelers lose both players to Free Agency.
Tyson Alualu / Avery Williamson
Alualu is 33, and in the final years of his career. Williamson is 28, and a large majority of the Steelers’ fan base wasn’t impressed with the trade acquisition from the Jets. Alualu is coming off a tremendous season filling in for Javon Hargrave, but Williamson underwhelmed by most accounts. However, if the Steelers were to cut ties with Vince Williams, I feel Williamson could be a cheap option for the team, and could fill Williams’ role within the defense next to the more athletic Devin Bush. Could Alualu sign one more contract with the Steelers to end his career in the Pittsburgh? Absolutely, and I think they do just that.
My Prediction: Steelers sign Alualu, Williamson hits the open market.
Zach Banner / Alejandro Villanueva
Banners has been very vocal about his plan, and the Steelers’ plan, for him in 2021. It seems as if he is a large part of the team, but is there any chance the Steelers retain Villanueva? At this point, it looks like Villanueva will either retire or hit the open market. Meanwhile, Banner seems to be prepping for the 2021 season in Pittsburgh.
My Prediction: Steelers retain Banner, Villanueva either retires or hits the open market.
Zach Banner / Matt Feiler
See the previous paragraph in regards to the Steelers’ plan with Banner, but could Matt Feiler throw a wrench in those plans? Feiler plays both guard and tackle, and could be a very valuable, and versatile, part of any offensive line in the NFL. Will that be with the Steelers? Unless it as a backup, I expect Feiler to get paid to the point where the Steelers can’t match the offer.
My Prediction: Steelers retain Banner and Feiler finds a new home in Free Agency.
Jordan Dangerfield / Sean Davis
You might be wondering why this is even a talking point. Dangerfield and Davis were both strictly special teams players in 2020, and there is value in these type of players. Davis, although not given much of a chance last season, does provide more from a defensive perspective, but Dangerfield was the team’s special teams captain last season.
My Prediction: Steelers retain Dangerfield, let Davis test the open market but could sign him later.
For a more in-depth discussion/explanation of these free agent decisions, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast from Monday in the second half of the show.