The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will the Steelers seriously explore some of the top options on the free agent cornerback market?
I don’t know about you but I’m not the sort of person who spends a great deal of time watching NFL Network. Most of it is not aimed to tell you anything new, and the analysis of many of the former players that they employ leaves much to be desired.
I did happen to have it on in the background for a brief period of time yesterday, however, and caught a report by Aditi Kinkhabwala, who spends a good deal of time embedded in the Steelers’ camp. I understand that opinions on her may have soured lately in light of her inaccurately saying that Antonio Brown was ‘pouting’ during a touchdown in the playoffs, but be that as it may, I think she does a good job.
She reported yesterday that the Steelers were working on completing a long-term contract with Le’Veon Bell, who was given the franchise tag. In addition to that, she said during her report—though seemingly not elsewhere—that she was told from within the organization that they are looking to be players in the free agency market.
I am working from memory here, but from recollection, she cited the fact that the team only ran a couple of dozens snaps in man coverage with a single-high safety and how that related to their talent available at the position as one of the reasons that they are looking to bring in a higher-end player.
She also said that she was not given names, but believed that players such as Dre Kirkpatrick and Stephon Gilmore could potentially be targets for them as in fitting the mould of what they like out of the position.
Just how much stock to put into this report is certainly debatable, but the good news is that we won’t have to wait very long, as free agency is not so far away, and the ‘legal tampering’ window is even closer upon us. Kinkhabwala also tied Bell’s deal in lowering his cap hit from the franchise tag value into their ability to pursue a top cornerback. Perhaps they saw the impact of Janoris Jenkins on the Giants last year.