Even though many have speculated for awhile that the 2020 season would be Alejandro Villanueva last as a Steeler, one notable NFL insider doesn’t think that’s the case.
John Clayton explained that he actually believes Villanueva could fit into the Steelers plans during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan.
“I’m just thinking that what you’re looking at is that their effort first has got to be in Villanueva, but can they fit it into the cap? It’s still questionable because they’re still trying to get under the cap,” Clayton said.
Despite not having tons of room to play with money wise, the Steelers are currently under the salary cap, debunking part of Clayton’s statement. Villanueva has also experienced a noticeable decline in production, which counters how much of a priority he would be.
Clayton offered a way keeping Villanueva in Pittsburgh could make sense for both the team and the player. He feels including voidable years in the deal could allow it to work.
“So, you do see a lot of that. And of course, you know, if you’re going to be Villanueva, you’re 32 years old, you can’t backload it too much. But you can do a two-year deal with three years of additional voids and get that cap number down. But again, you have to worry because Indianapolis does not have a left tackle after losing out on Trent Williams and you still have to wonder does Kansas City go for Alejandro Villanueva, too. I think he’s a $12 million a year deal.”
Do the Steelers believe they need to retain a veteran like Villanueva? Do they want to keep him away from the Chiefs or another contender? Did the signing of Zach Banner hint Villanueva is headed out of town?
Villanueva has spent his entire NFL career with the Steelers after entering the league as an underrated free agent in 2014. The Army product was named to the Pro Bowl in 2017 and 2018.