The Pittsburgh Steelers have found themselves in an unusual offseason due to their cap issues heading into 2021. This offseason will not only affect the team that will be on the field going into 2021, but it will also affect the Steeler's future going forward so the Steelers need to play their cards right going into this offseason. They need to lock up TJ Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Devin Bush down the line so it might be wise to let some of these free agents walk in the 2021 offseason.
Pro Football Focus recently did a Steelers free agency and draft preview before the draft comes in April. One of the topics PFF took on is if the Steelers were going to retain all of their starters going into free agency. The answer could very well be no PFF says. Staring at a difficult cap situation in the face, Pittsburgh will be forced to be frugal this offseason. If you have been paying attention lately that is what they have been doing. It seems the majority of the contracts they have been signing are one-year deals.
Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ Watt will be commanding top-of-the-market contracts at their respective positions coming off of their rookie deals. The money that will be freed up from Vance McDonald and Maurkice Pouncey retiring will help, but the Steelers still have work to do. Pro Football Focus feels it is hard to see the Steelers bringing back JuJu Smith-Schuster, Alejandro Villanueva, and James Conner in the offseason due to the price they will demand on the open market.
Matt Feiler seems like the likeliest starting offensive linemen to return in 2021. Pro Football Focus feels the Steelers could overcome losing Alejandro Villanueva in free agency by keeping Matt Feiler and moving him to a tackle position. PFF had Feiler graded 10 points higher playing at the tackle position in 2019 than he did at guard last season. PFF projects Feiler can be signed in the offseason for a two-year, $12 million dollar contract. Look for the Steelers to bring back Zach Banner as well in the offseason. He started the first game of the season at right tackle until he went down with an unfortunate ACL injury.