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: Would the Steelers have handled the tight end position in the offseason differently if they knew Ladarius Green would fail his physical?
Armchair general managers—including myself—have been up in arms over the past few days about the Steelers’ decision not to address the tight end position in free agency or in the 2017 NFL Draft while knowing that there was uncertainty surrounding the future of Ladarius Green, their 2016 splash free agency signing.
The team, of course, released him last week, and now many are wondering why in the world they wouldn’t have done more to address the tight end position when they had options to choose from. The only additions have come in the form of a pair of undrafted free agents in Scott Orndoff and Phazahn Odom, neither of whom are currently in a position to make the case that they deserve a roster spot over the top three currently on the depth chart.
Among the tight ends who were available in free agency this year were Martellus Bennett, Jared Cook, and Jack Doyle. In the draft, they had a bevy of options in the fourth round to choose from, which is a topic that I already covered.
There is plenty of discussion about what they could have done, and even what they should have done, but the question now is about what they would have done if they had the foresight to recognize that Green would not be in the picture.
I keep going back to the fact that the first thing Art Rooney II mentioned during a radio interview about what he was looking to accomplish on Day Three of the draft was the tight end position. Gerry Dulac and Jeremy Fowler both also mentioned names the Steelers would have liked to have taken in the draft at certain spots.
Would they have been more aggressive, as they were with the running back position, in making sure to get the player they were looking for if they knew Green would be gone? Or did they truly have comfort in the three players that they already have, such that they felt they didn’t have to deviate from their board?