Bleacher Report has released their grades for each clubs performance in free agency, and gave the Pittsburgh Steelers high marks.
BR’s Alex Kay gave the Steelers a “B” grade for their offseason so far, citing their availing to salvage what could have been an ugly mass exodus of key free agent.
Specifically, Kay points to Pittsburgh’s re-signings of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, cornerback Cameron Sutton and offensive tackle Zach Banner.
“No team benefitted more from a cold receiver market than Pittsburgh, which was able to hang onto JuJu Smith-Schuster on a team-friendly one-year, $8 million deal,” Kay writes.
While the Steelers did not make many splash signings beyond the surprise return of Smith-Schuster, they did contend with razor thin financial margins to add some key depth pieces, such as offensive tackle Joe Haeg, safety/special teamer Miles Killebrew and offensive lineman B.J. Finney.
“It hasn’t been the type of offseason that wins a Super Bowl, but these moves get the Steelers a step closer, and they deserve to be commended for it,” Kay adds.
The Steelers did lose key contributors on the defensive side, which makes Kay’s grade slightly optimistic. Slot corner Mike Hilton signed with the division rival Cincinnati Bengals, while starting nose tackle Tyson Alualu rejoined the Jacksonville Jaguars. Outside linebacker Bud Dupree got paid by the Tennessee Titans. Pittsburgh also cut inside linebacker Vince Williams and cornerback Steven Nelson.
With five defensive starters from a season ago gone, the Steelers will now have to put a premium on April’s draft to ensure the 2021 offseason does intact end up being a success.