Addition by subtraction. I believe that’s the only Steeler Way.
I just want to begin this article by saying that I’ve always appreciated the kind of football player Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has been since Pittsburgh drafted him in the second round in 2017. But while JuJu the football player has been a treat, JuJu the brand developer has simply been exhausting. He’s too worried about TikTok dances and talking trash with the Browns to really focus on his craft. Quite frankly—and while I’ll always cherish that night in Cincinnati when he knocked Vontaze Burfict into the following week—I’m glad Smith-Schuster is entering free agency. The Steelers don’t need another Antonio Brown, and I fear that’s the kind of person Smith-Schuster is turning into. All the best, JuJu, but I think it’s time you and the Steelers parted ways.
Before I continue with this article, I just want to say that while I’ll always appreciate the kind of quarterback and player Ben Roethlisberger has been since arriving in town 17 springs ago, I think it’s time he and the Steelers say their goodbyes. $19 million for the Big Ben of five years ago may have been a bargain. Unfortunately, paying that much for Broken Down Ben is a hindrance in 2021. It’s exhausting watching this team underachieve year after year in the playoffs, with the number one underachiever being No. 7, himself. Sorry, Ben, but I’m ready for the day when you hang up your cleats for good.
I mean no disrespect by this, but as much as I admire Joe Haden and what he’s contributed to both the Steelers and the community since signing with Pittsburgh back in 2017, I feel as if he’s lost a step. And does a mediocre football team really want to pay an aging cornerback $7 million in 2021? Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a different uniform next season. I wonder what the Steelers would save in cap room by parting ways with Haden? I wonder what they could fetch in a trade for him?
Before I continue, I just want to say that as much as I love and respect Vince Williams for the kind of player he’s turned himself into after coming to town as a sixth-round pick in 2013, he’s far too expensive for the production the Steelers are getting from him. Besides, I really like Robert Spillane’s upside, and if the team cut Williams, today, that would amount to $4 million in cap savings. Also, while I love his moxie, I’m not a big fan of his social media presence, a presence that I consider exhausting. I think it’s time the Steelers and Williams go their separate ways.
Look, nobody respects the military more than me, but while I’ll always be indebted to Alejandro Villanueva for his service to our country, I’m ready for the Steelers to move on from Big Al and find a new left tackle. He’s a turnstile at this point. Thanks for everything, Al, but I think it’s time you got on with your life’s work.
Hey, listen, I love Chris Boswell’s consistency, but do the Steelers really need to be paying a kicker over $ 3 million when they’re in salary cap hell? Matthew Wright looked pretty decent filling in for Boz down the stretch of the 2020 season, and the little you lose with consistency with Wright, you’ll be gaining that much more in the salary dump.
Anyway, I’ve been asking myself lately what the Steelers need with an All-Pro safety at this point? As much as I love Minkah Fitzpatrick and what he brings to the table, I wouldn’t be too upset if Pittsburgh shopped him around this offseason. Imagine what you could fetch in exchange for a talent of Fitzpatrick’s magnitude, a player who essentially still has two years to go on his rookie deal. Kevin Colbert would be wise to listen to offers.
Chase Claypool is a beast, but I feel as if he may be heading down the same path as Smith-Schuster, who, as I’ve already said, may be heading down the same path as AB. I realize I might catch hell for his, but I seriously wouldn’t be too sad if Pittsburgh listened to offers from other teams.
Cam Heyward may be a pillar in the Pittsburgh community, but I questioned that four-year contract extension the moment the Steelers gave it to him back in September. It’s too bad it’s not 2024 because the team will save itself $12 million by releasing Heyward then.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that Terrell Edmunds has turned himself into a more consistent strong safety, but do the Steelers need another “me-first” hip hop guy who isn’t focused on football? I honestly wouldn’t be too upset if Pittsburgh didn’t pick up Edmunds’ fifth-year option.
I loved Zach Banner’s personality, at first, but now that his character traits have been on display for well over a year, now, I fear he may become a distraction that the team doesn’t need. Honestly, I wouldn’t be too upset if the Steelers allowed Banner to explore free agency and just looked for their next starting tackle in the draft.
I also wouldn’t be all that upset if someone overpaid for Matt Feiler.
Finally, while I do think Mike Tomlin is a good head coach, I feel as if his message has gotten stale. Honestly—and I might catch hell for this—I wouldn’t be too upset if Tomlin and the Steelers decided to part ways.