Look away Steelers fans still upset about the team missing the postseason by a single game.
According to Adam Schefter, the new collective bargaining agreement will add a seventh team in each conference to the NFL playoffs beginning with the 2020 season.
Had the playoff structure now on the table for the 2020 season been in effect this past season, the Steelers and Rams would have been in the postseason, playing on wild-card weekend.https://t.co/1eeUzVIbyB
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 19, 2020
Under the new format, each conference would only have one bye team and instead see six teams take part in wild-card weekend.
If ratified, the new proposal would provide a huge competitive advantage for the number one seeds in each conference, giving them the only bye. Had the system been enacted this year, the seventh seed Steelers would have matched up against the second seed Kansas City Chiefs in round one in the AFC and the Los Angeles Rams would have played Green Bay.
Despite the massive changes Schefter expresses optimism that the new CBA could be ratified as early as this week.
In addition to the change in the playoff format, NFL owners are also pushing for adding a 17th regular season game and shortening the preseason to three games. According to Schefter’s column, while the NFL playoff structure change has “already been agreed to” the additional regular season game has yet to be agreed to by the players. That part of the CBA also wouldn’t go into effect until the 2021 season at the earliest.
Report: Rift Between NFL, Teams on April Draft
While the NFL plans to go ahead with the 2020 Draft as scheduled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, general managers around the league reportedly want to see it pushed back, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini and Adam Schefter.
The NFL’s General Manager sub committee suggested to commissioner Roger Goodell that the draft be postponed, a recommendation that the league apparently ignored.
New: The NFL’s General Manager subcommittee unanimously recommended to commissioner Goodell today that the draft be moved back due to COVID-19, however the league plans to stick with the 4/23-25 dates at this time, league sources tell me and @AdamSchefter https://t.co/nL9sLh9jNh
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) March 25, 2020
Teams are concerned that others will have an unfair advantage in preparing for the draft, with some teams still having access to their facilities while others do not. They are also concerned about not being able to do their normal due diligence scouting prospects, such as attending pro days, administering physicals and psychological testing and conducting interviews.
Commissioner Goodell put those concerns of unfairness to rest in a memo to teams Tuesday night, closing all league facilities moving forward.
While Goodell’s decision should help alleviate some of the worry amongst the general managers, teams now must focus their attention to the challenge of setting up their draft rooms remotely.
With the draft exactly one month away, there is still plenty of time for the league to change its mind. Still, no one with actual decision-making power around the league seems eager to reschedule.
Mic Drop: Tom Brady Leaves Patriots
Mike Asti cautions Steelers fans about piling on Patriots fans too much because of Tom Brady’s departure.
Steelers Adeniyi, Skipper Will Get Chances to Step Up at OLB
To the surprise of almost no one, the Steelers released tenured veteran outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo on Monday.
Chickillo was a late-round pick that the Steelers had kept around as a special teams ace and rotational pass rusher over the past few seasons that certainly was not going to live up to his scheduled $6 million-plus salary cap hit. While Chickillo’s departure will be benefit for the salary cap situation, his departure will result in a lack of depth behind starters Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt and be one of several holes opening up on special teams with Tyler Matakevich also leaving and Roosevelt Nix looking like a likely departure.
Now, it is certainly possible the Steelers go out and draft a replacement. They might very well take one early in the draft and general manager Kevin Colbert has said it’s a deep draft class amongst edge rushers.
However even if the Steelers don’t look outside the organization, they should be able to turn to Ola Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper to compensate for lost depth. However, given who they have on the roster right now, just how much of a drop off is there between Chickillo and those two youngsters?
An immediate breakdown of Adeniyi would be what has he actually done? Understandably, he has been great in two consecutive preseasons and training camps. He has dismantled all the guys he has faced in the preseason. In his rookie year, he led the NFL in sacks during that preseason. When he tore his meniscus last year, he was tied for the lead in sacks during that preseason too. He has been productive in the reps against the backups, but nothing has shown up yet in meaningful games.
His biggest moment on that stage so far was the botched roughing the passer call for his hit on Lamar Jackson. He is, as of now, a massive question mark pending on his development.
He has been more productive than Chickillo due to his bull rush and heavy hands, but in terms of actual in-game production, there has not been much. The drop off on special teams might be the thing to notice. Adeniyi’s weakness is moving in space, and even though he was not horrible on special teams, Chickillo was clearly better. It is not a massive drop off at all, but we have not seen that productivity yet. In terms of holding the edge against the run, I do trust Adeniyi to do that.
Now, moving onto Tuzar Skipper. He was a training camp and preseason darling that got the ax after the preseason and then circled back to the Steelers by mid-season. But after that, we never really saw him at all. So, in other words, in real, meaningful reps, we just do not know what Skipper’s prognosis is in the NFL. Everything we saw at training camp and in the preseason was fantastic. At the very least, he showed he could be a quality special teamer, which is key. Other than that, Skipper is still a mystery.
So, is there a great big drop off from Chickillo to Adeniyi and Skipper? In terms of pass rush ability, no way. Chickillo was nonexistent, but Adeniyi and Skipper both have given significant flashes of pass rush ability. In terms of run defense, Skipper is more of a question mark, but Adeniyi certainly holds his own here. Adeniyi has proven to be a sure tackle and Chickillo missed his fair share on the edge and lost outside contain far too often.
The real battle will be replacing his special teams contributions. Chickillo was a quality special teamer. Skipper showed off some really impressive special teams ability in the preseason. Adeniyi got in on a few tackles as well throughout the season. The drop off is not stark, at the very least.
Truth be told, the Steelers need to draft another edge rusher. That is the best way to take care of these depth problems. But make no mistake about it, the Steelers are not losing a ton by releasing Chickillo.