Now Is Not The Time To Give Up On Sammie Coates

Despite the Pittsburgh Steelers resting their offensive starters for their final regular season game, Sammie Coates didn’t see a snap in the entire game.

The second-year wide-receiver was assumed to be the Steelers’ second choice target after Antonio Brown when Heath Miller retired, and Martavis Bryant was suspended.

But it hasn’t worked out like that. Injuries and drops have been a feature for Coates’ season, so much so that Eli RogersDeMarcus AyersDarrius Heyward-Bey, and Cobi Hamilton were getting snaps over him against the Browns.

There were some fans, and pundits, who were questioning whether Coates will even make the roster next season when Bryant comes back:

Will Coates be on the Steelers roster next year? Of course he will.

It’s very easy to remember that Coates did start the season off really well, earning Roethlisberger’s trust. He led the NFL in yards per catch, and burned Darrelle Revis for a memorable TD.

But for all the positives, there were negatives. He also lead the NFL in drop rate, dropping 25% of his targets.

Then again, it’s very easy to see why he would. Injuries are the biggest reason that Coates underwhelmed this season. He’s been injured for the majority of the year.

Coates has been suffering from finger injuries, after which is when most of his drops started happening. It lead to a drop in snaps, and Coates is reported to be considering getting surgery on his fingers in the off season (link). His latest hamstring injury hasn’t helped him get on the field. That is the biggest reason that Coates didn’t play against the Browns.

It must be remembered, that this is essentially Coates’ first year on the field in the NFL. He came into these season with more catches in the post-season (two) than in the regular season (one).

Coates is still due for the third-year receiver leap, and being in the Steelers’ system will help him develop even further. Never mind that he also has two years left on a very team friendly deal. His cap hit will only be $773k next year. Markus Wheaton and Cobi Hamilton are both out of contract at the end of the season, and the former won’t be back.

It’s arguable that Coates will get back next season. It’s also arguable that he’s the Steelers’ best like-for-like replacement for Martavis Bryant. He is bigger and faster than any other receiver that is currently on the active roster. Remember, there’s no guarantee that Bryant will be back.

If the Steelers draft another receiver, that doesn’t necessarily signal the end of Coates’ time in Pittsburgh. If anything, that could be more of a signal to Bryant that he doesn’t have too many more chances left, even any.

Time is still on Coates’ side, and he should show Pittsburgh that he’s worth it.


  • WilliamSekinger

    It’s real simple. The Steelers do not get rid of players on their rookie contract except in exceptional circumstances. Sammie will be a Steeler at least until the end of his rookie contract. Then it will be decision time.

  • falconsaftey43

    Of course he’ll be on the team next year. He was a monster to start the season, then broke his hand and has disappeared. Ok, let him heal up and see what next year brings.


    I completely disagree. This is the perfect time, he’s never gonna be much more than a deep threat with questionable hands, IMO. Trade him in the offseason while he has value and draft his replacement.

  • Zarbor

    Agreed. Not to mention he is pretty good on special teams which is a bonus for him since when Martavis comes back, he will be on the bench. This was his shot and he dropped the ball (pun intended). Yes, broken fingers don’t count but he was having issues holding on before than.

    I’m also very interested to see more of this Cobi Hamilton guy. I like what I see so far.

  • falconsaftey43

    Nothing wrong with being a one trick pony if it’s a good trick. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say his performance was really affected by his hand injury. So taking the 5 games pre-injury and projecting to a full season he’d have finished with 60 catches for 1347 yards and 6 TDs. That’d be 4th in yards, 55th in catches, 1st in yards/reception and 1st in yards/target (not this accounts for drops). He had a 61% catch rate before the injury which would be 47th (clustered right next to guys such as Mike Wallace, Davante Adams, Sterling Shepard, Edelman, Crabtree). After his injury his catch rate plummeted to 11%. Not to mention he played 196 snaps in the first 5 games and only 117 in the last 11. I’m not saying he would have kept up that pace, but he was off to a fantastic start before he got hurt. I don’t think what you could realistically get in a trade for him (3rd-4th maybe) would be worth it.

  • Sam Clonch

    I’m very optimistic on Sammie still. Lot of talent, lot of heart, lot of commitment. He stayed in town all offseason, worked his tail off. By all accounts had a fantastic camp, and was only 26 yards off of AB for the team lead through 5 games. He gets his fingers worked on, gets his head straight, and he’ll definitely be an asset.

    Agree on a comment below about Steelers very rarely getting rid of players on rookie deals. Shamarko Thomas anyone?

  • Sam Clonch

    Shamarko Thomas anyone?

  • CP72

    Yeah for me the real argument is more short term. I think with Coates being banged up both Ayers and DHB can give us more right now. The guy is obviously not healthy and has said as much.

    Sammie has tremendous upside. He will have training camp and the preseason to prove his worth. At this point however we’re trying to win games that if we lose there’s no game next week.

  • VaDave

    Good observation.

  • srdan

    realistically you are trading him for maybe a 7th rd pick. That isn’t worth it to me.

  • srdan

    Totally agreed. The one trick he excels at is a game changing one that makes everyone on offense better.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    And honestly the trading partner would get more out of the deal. When Sammie is healthy he is a difference maker.

  • VaDave

    Think about this, any combination of the following, Bryant, Coates, Hey-Bey running verticals with Bell, Brown and the TE of the day working the underneath. You talk about a stretching a defense..

  • Sam Clonch

    Still kills me. That should have been THIS year! I don’t want to jinx anything, but it makes me wonder what’s going to happen that it doesn’t happen again next year? (knocking on wood now…)

  • CP72

    I don’t know if you can have a roster of DHB, Bryant, and Coates. That might be to many guys the that do the same thing.

  • Steelmania

    Steelers will not draft another WR till late rounds if at all. They need a OLB to replace J. Jones and possibly Harrison – ILB not a stretch as V. Williams did not play against Browns which one would have thought he would have gotten a lot of rep’s and Timmons may not want to stay if he has to take a major pay cut, a QB in case they can resign L. Jones, and OL & DL & RB depth.
    1. OLB
    2. ILB
    3. DL

  • srdan

    It’s very likely you do. They are all under contract and Steelers would be paying them as much to be on the street as they would to be in uniform.

    And Coates and Tav are similar, but DHBs ST contribution sets him apart.

  • Sam Clonch

    Still wondering how the comp pick is going to work out for Beachum. Based off the chump change 1 year “prove it”, or the mega rich option years after?

  • srdan

    A lot of speculation in that box.

    And your biggest speculation is that Bryant comes back as a new man. I full heartedly hope for that, but have severe reservations.

  • Nolrog

    Coates will be around, he’s too good of a talent not to be. But while some of the drops may be a result of his finger, he has always been known as a receiver prone to drops. If you go back to his draft profiles, that is one thing consistently noted in the weaknesses.

  • JNick

    Next year we should not draft a WR. We have Coates, Bryant, Rogers, Hamilton, and Ayers all under contract for spots 2-5.

  • Nolrog

    Timmon’s play in the last few weeks may have earned him a good contract elsewhere. I would try to bring him back at a reasonable price, but someone out there (Arizona, Tennessee) may pay him more.Other than that, I generally agree with your list, except for the RB (twice) and QB. We would be better served to go after a WR, TE or additional defensive depth there.

  • CP72

    Actually that’s not the case….

    Cutting DHB in 2017 would be a over a 1 million dollar cap savings

    Cutting Coates in 2017 would be $475,000 dollar cap savings.

    Not saying cut either, but it’s not a wash.

  • srdan

    Hmm I didn’t realize that.

    Still not worth it to me.

  • CP72

    Oh I agree, but DHB may be a victim of having to pay other guys (ie…Timmons).

  • Shirley Sharpton

    I’m sadly not so optimistic; He caught a few bombs early on but otherwise did little. I do hope injuries were the main reason and he will contribute next year, but I would still draft a WR in round 2. Until I see Bryant actually on the field in September…josh Gordon, randy Gregory etc. Also, we’re Steelers fans here, so if you disagree with an opinion no problem, but don’t call anyone stupid. Let’s show some class like the Rooneys would.

  • Shirley Sharpton

    Coates did play his a*s off on special teams for sure

  • Shirley Sharpton

    I watched all the preseason games, rogers impressed but I felt Sammie was average. Still, Ben wasn’t doing the throwing

  • VaDave

    Good point.

  • Justin B

    Good post. It is not time to give up on him, but it is for this season. I fear the huge drop or back breaking INT on a ball Sammie didn’t fight for. Fix those digits, see you in camp.

  • Shirley Sharpton

    Bryant still has to be reinstated, that’s not an automatic. We all thought he’d be playing this year, right? Wheaton gone, Coates with about what, 20 catches in two seasons? WR in round 2. Olb round 1 agreed, same for dl in rd 3.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Glad the coaching staff is not as fickle as its fans. The steadfastness, constancy, and stability of the Steelers to develop players has been a strength. Sometimes the time taken to fully evaluate a player’s development may appear to be wasted roster when some don’t work out like Limas Sweed or Cortez Allen. But the Steelers is very good at taking advantage of the current structure so as WilliamSekinger says below, “The Steelers do not get rid of players on their rookie contract except
    in exceptional circumstances. Sammie will be a Steeler at least until
    the end of his rookie contract. Then it will be decision time.”

    Now being on the roster next summer is no guarantee of making the team; but doubt many teams would be interested a a receiver who has 25% drop rate – but no organization other than the Steelers has a better insight on his upside and perhaps those drops being an anomaly due to his injury than the Steelers.

  • Fr33th1nk3r

    He has BROKEN FINGERS for pete’s sake! Of course he could not catch this year!

  • Craig M

    Way to early to be making decisions on our receiving makeup for next season (but) I have never seen our team w/ so much depth of talent at one position. Personally I favor DHB over Coates at playing time because of his experience and I believe he is faster. I am curious about Coates drop % in college, before his broken fingers issue, and, besides money being an issue, I think he would maybe get the best attention for a draft pick- just saying. I do honestly believe the FO will not deal him and this will continue into next season.

  • SilverSteel

    Yeah, but it seems that in every group of position players at least 25% of them are hurt at any one given time, and up to 75% this season and last. So, it is not like we always have access to everyone. For some reason, the Steelers have had the injury bug hard the last few seasons starting with Pouncey’s issues a few years ago.

  • SilverSteel

    And Ayers looks like an AB 2.0 in the making. Quick, shifty, lots of energy and good hands. Can’t wait to see him develop.

  • Keith Evans

    Fragile confidence possibly? Similar to Sweed, dropped balls, got in the doghouse, never made it. I don’t buy the broken fingers excuse, if you are a quality receiver you can still catch the ball. The drop in the back of the EZ (Bengals?) he had was horrendous.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    There is nothing average about 5 catches for 40+, and that’s in the first half of the season and nobody else beat that number. After the jets game he and AB we’re around the same yardage total. Without the broken fingers he could easily lead this team in receiving yards. He consistently runs past defenders. *Not basic*

  • John Mazza

    i like the idea. maybe a super late one and hope we get lucky. if the bring back DHB and not Shamarko that would give 6 and ST helps

  • Steve Johnson

    Ok, so if Bryant is reinstated do they get rid of Colbi Hamilton? That would be stupid IMO. Coates a replacement for Martavis Bryant? If anybody believes that, then they’ve been smoking some of the same stuff Martavis and LeVeon has the past two years (No Offence Intended). Whatever happened to keeping the best players? The arrow for Eli Rogers and Demarcus Ayers is definitely pointing upward. Would you sacrifice either of them for Coates? Ayers and Rogers look like an A. Brown Clone. DHB appears to be back as well. Now this is the kind of stupid stuff Mike Tomlin would do. Play Coates over the guys previously mentioned. Coates needs to sit, start A. Brown, Colbi Hamilton, Eli Rogers, DHB and D. Ayers.

  • Steve Johnson

    DHB can do that, he actually goes up and fights for the ball.

  • falconsaftey43

    Question isn’t should Coates play now (he should clearly sit now) but if he should be on the roster next year. Coates has special ability as he showed the first 5 weeks. Don’t give up on that so quickly. Hamilton is a nice role player, but not special.

  • falconsaftey43

    Whether confidence or physical, broken fingers clearly affected him. Caught 61% of balls before the injury and 11% after.

  • falconsaftey43

    19.1% drop rate in college

  • Reggie Cunningham

    Why draft two rb? We still have k.Williams.

  • Reggie Cunningham

    D.Ayers. looks tough to stop. Joe Haden seemed to have his handful last Sunday.

  • steeltown

    Until we know what happens with Bryant there’s no question Coates isnt going anywhere

  • Tedium cha

    I don’t think anyone is giving up on him totally. Just this year he needs to be sat down through the playoffs. When he’s out there, Ben is throwing him the ball. And he doesn’t catch it, he doesn’t fight for it, and he doesn’t prevent the db from getting it.

  • IndianaCarson

    I agree totally. His extra effort last week against the Browns to cause that fumble that kept them from scoring a touchdown was huge. The Steelers could have lost the game if Cleveland scored that TD and added 7 more points to their total score.

  • Rocksolid20

    Let’s see first if Bryant can behave himself before we go getting rid of Coates .

  • Rocksolid20

    Bryant may cut himself ?!

  • Rocksolid20

    Amen Steel .

  • Rocksolid20

    Love his play but DHB has some age on him and look for Ayers to be back on the practice squad Hamilton needs yo stay as does Coates .

  • 6 ring circus

    Agree. Just go buy a jugs machine, if you don’t already have one, and get better at your craft – catching footballs for next year.

  • You really think Coates is the fastest receiver? I’d probably go DHB, but I don’t know for sure. If Coates isn’t gonna participate in the playoffs, I’m at least glad we have DHB as a deep threat

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Hamilton is not under contract next season. DHB is.

  • firefromheaven

    Your ignorance of the game is showing again. LOL Way to go Ms Negative. His first 5 games were exceptional.

  • firefromheaven

    A perfect example of a glittering jewel of colossal ignorance. A tool that looks at numbers and has not a clue about their context. Every time you type something you prove my point. SMH

  • Nathaniel Sullivan

    We shouldn’t be thinking about cutting anyone, we have 26 pending free agents this year.

  • J Jones

    Drops can be corrected. I dont trip when we talk young receivers and drops. Bryant dropped a decent amt of catchable passes folks. When healthy Coates left his imprint on every game he’s played in. Cant say the same for MB. U dont give up on talented young players for troubled young talented players. Every knock on Coates’ game can be made for MB. As of now im more comfortable with a healthy Coates,kinda shocked at the convo itself honestly

  • mokhkw

    If you click on firefromheavens name and his profile shows up, next to the “Follow” button are 3 dots. Click on that and you can Block User meaning you don;t have to see his crap anymore.

  • mokhkw

    Why do u suck so much?

    Don’t bother replying, I’ve blocked you so I won’t see it anyway.

  • firefromheaven

    Another of the nattering nabobs of negativity. And a coward to boot. Passive aggressive little dick that attacks someone then puts them on block. But I’m still going to post it so everyone else can see a coward at work.

    You guys are the ones that suck. You talk down every player on this site and you act like the team is 1-15 instead of 10-5. Plus you have no grasp of analytical reasoning, you throw up stats but you have no clue what they mean.

  • firefromheaven

    WAAAA!!!! Maybe if you cry and kick your feet mommy will come and protect you from the big bad bully. SMH

    Too bad we can’t block you and Shirey from the site so we don’t have to see your nonsensical posts.

  • Steve Johnson

    Holding onto players that doesn’t contribute anything at all except Special Teams? I agree, ST is an important factor of the game as well. But when I think about Shamarko Thomas and Sammie Coates, I can’t justify keeping those two on the team. Of course my opinion means absolutely nothing just like everybody else on here. I just think Tomlin does a poor job of managing his players and utilizing his players to the best of their ability. Another example, not utilizing Justin Gilbert on Kick Off Returns, instead sticking with Coates and Toussaint. Not giving Demarcus Ayers a chance at Punt Returns and using Antonio Brown all the time.

  • Sam Clonch

    James Harrison only played ST his first few years. Antonio mostly special teamer too at first. Guess we should have gotten rid of them, right?