2017 Steelers Stock Watch – WR Darrius Heyward-Bey – Stock Down


With the 2017 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certain players.

And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, have sent their stock rising, falling, or breaking even.

Player: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

Stock Value: Down

I don’t think it would even be fair to sugarcoat it and characterize the stock value of veteran wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey as anything but down. Regardless of what he is or is not able to do on the field for the Steelers, there is no getting around the fact that they may very well have the most crowded wide receiver room in the NFL.


Originally brought on board to Pittsburgh in 2014 on a one-year contract, Heyward-Bey is hoping to enter his fourth season with the Steelers in 2017, but he knows as well as anybody that he has never had a tougher hill to climb for a roster spot throughout his entire career, since he was a first-round draft pick in 2009.

It goes without saying at this point in his career that Heyward-Bey never developed into the sort of wide receiver that the Raiders envisioned him to be, but they, of course, fell in love with his speed and hoped that the rest would follow.

He has grown quite a bit as a player, but he never really developed the hands or the coordination to be a consistent, quality starting wide receiver. He has proven to be more than adequate depth for the Steelers over time, with a cameo in a bigger role if necessary, but Pittsburgh is deluged with such players now.

Heyward-Bey has even taken to working with his old track coach this summer in order to regain, or retain, his speed. He suffered a foot injury in the middle of last season that might have been a bit of a wake-up call for him. Could he still be the lone wide receiver that can outrun Ryan Shazier?

Unfortunately for him, this year it might not just come down to whether or not he can be a high-level contributor on special teams simply due to the number of talented wide receivers that they have on hand. Especially if somebody like Sammie Coates also contributes on special teams.

Regardless of all that, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have his veteran presence on the roster. The younger wide receivers do look up to him, and he cares about them, and the team. It would be unfortunate to see him go because of the quiet role he plays.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Conserv_58

    According to Ray Fittipaldo’s, (Post Gazette) recent chat transcript, he thinks Hey Bey could be cut at the end of training camp. His reason: Hey Bey’s contributions on ST’s aren’t enough to justify keeping him on the roster over younger and more talented receivers. I agree with Ray, especially since this team is poised to make another deep run in the playoffs and hopefully be the AFC champs to represent in the SB. If there is one thing that fans must keep in mind when it comes to make cuts is the team is going to keep the best and most talented players on their roster. There is no room for sentimentality.

    There were some other interesting tid bits from Ray’s chat transcript:

    On Golson: Ray said that Golson’s key to making the team is as a ST’s player. He said that according to Carnell Lake, Golson has lost some speed. He also referenced Kevin Colbert’s comment regarding Golson’s chances of making the team as being remote. Ray says that Colbert’s comment is a key indicator of what the team thinks of his chances of being the type of player they thought they were getting when they drafted him.

    William Gay: When asked if he thought the Steelers will cut Will Gay he said that if they were to do so they most likely would have done so in March. However, he didn’t rule out the possibility, but he does think Gay will be on the final 53.

    Martavis Bryant: A question was asked, if Martavis plays well for the next two years does he think the Steelers will extend his contract? Ray said, “No. They’ll be paying AB $17 mill per season. They won’t pay two players that play the same position that much money.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Coates is shakey. hunter is unproven here. Ayers won’t upset fun. Hamilton won’t. Rogers and juju will file it out for wr3. Dhb is safe this year. But will be gone next year along with gay.

  • Simon Cutts

    If it is a contest for pure Receiving ability then DHB is gone. His seeming inability to correct simple defects like never watching the ball into his hands, and always having his hands too far apart curtail his chance to ever be a good NFL level receiver. However I am starting to believe that Coates is indeed becoming Limas Sweed. Watching him last season and hearing the reports this pre season i do not think his fingers have ever been the problem. I’ve played through multiple breaks, it was extremely painful every single catch, but how badly do you want it. Some players respond to pressure, others just shrivel up. I believe, albeit sadly that Coates is gone mentally. I think the strength of that receiver room will be too much for him, and DHB could survive based on his special teams and leadership role. Just my opinion. Interested to see how it plays out behind the scenes.

  • Conserv_58

    DHB’s tenure has been precarious at best. It’s actually a testiment to his willingness to accept a dramatically reduced role and demotion as a special teams player that has kept him in the league this long. There is also the fact that the Steelers don’t see him as a viable option at receiver since he’s used very sparingly. With the depth at the WR position it’s going to be pretty tough trying to determine who the other two receivers will be after AB, Martavis, Rogers and JuJu Smith. The WR battle in camp is going to be one of the most hotly contested and intensely competitive of any group. It looks like Sammy Coates may not make the final cuts since he’s been struggling in the OTA’s and mini camp. If he’s struggling in shorts what’s it going to be like once the pads go on.

  • Michael Conrad

    I think you are dead wrong. Hunter has been doing very well and Ben likes him . He is a good red zone target. Hunter never had a chance to play with a good O. Ayers is better then you think . MB can be very good . Rogers will make the team . JJSS will make the team . I think DHB and Coats are on the ropes. AB makes 6 WR’s.Hamilton will go to PS. The real key is JJSS is he any good . Can he separate will he understand the O . I see Coats or DHB sticking if JJSS looks like a learning year is needed.

    Golson and JJSS were Colbert picks after a team ate their lunch and the player they really wanted was picked in front of them.

  • Steel B

    I’d rather have DHB than a sketchy Sammie Coats.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Ayers isn’t making the team

  • I don’t disagree with any of this. The golson item in particular is not news. WR is definitely going to come down to who combines ST play with longer term upside and ability to contribute now in a pinch. I just don’t see DHB being that guy at this point in his career unless the young guys all struggle on ST.

  • If Ayers or Hamilton or Hunter can contribute on ST, DHB is in real trouble. His main value is in leadership and ST. He provides little to no upside on the field over anyone else. Hunter is a good red zone threat and may make it just on that.

  • They may both be outside looking in, tbh.

  • nutty32

    Agree. I’d prefer DHB to Sammy solely on the fact that the Ben window is closing. If we had another good QB prospect or Ben was younger, I’d take the gamble on Sammy to develop over time over DHB. But the next 2 years……go for broke, win NOW! We’re gonna suck w/o a QB. Bell + an improved Defense only equals possible wild card runs.

  • nutty32

    It’s more likely than not that AB will be asked to take a pay cut 2 years from now. Nothing is impossible wit AB, but the percentages say AB will start to decline.

  • Conserv_58

    We agree for the most part on DHB. For me, He is an enigma. He’s still got elite speed, he does a serviceable job on ST’s and he’s a willing mentor, but when it comes to utilizing him as a receiving option, coach Haley treats him like the kid that, during play ground games, nobody wants to pick for their team. He has to have the lowest snap count of any veteran receiver on the team.

    Coates has struggled during OTA’s and from what I understand it still has to do with his busted fingers. That begs the ultimate question, why the heck didn’t he get his fingers fixed immediately after the 2016 season ended, especially since he admitted to them having a detrimental affect on his psychie? He allegedly had groin surgery so why not get his fingers fixed too. IMO, Sammies’ biggest problem is above his neck. Wheaton had busted fingers too, got ’em surgically repaired and never let them interfear with his game.

  • Conserv_58

    That’s pretty much a given and I’m quite sure the Steelers know this, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are not going to pay two WR’s top five money.

  • Conserv_58

    The only way he does is via injuries.

  • Matthew Marczi

    On what basis is it “more likely than not” that Brown will be asked to take a pay cut in the future? This cap hit proportional to the annually-rising cap will only be reduced by percentage, and there is nothing to indicate a drop in performance.

  • RickM

    The guy is a great team guy and a top-line ST player. But point blank, he seldom works himself open as a receiver anymore. I think there are better receiving options for sure in Hunter and Ayers. But it’s all contingent on having a good enough ST unit should they release him.