The Pittsburgh Steelers will have several key players on new teams next season after a long 2020.
After starting 11-0, the Pittsburgh Steelers nearly fell flat. Thanks to one win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16, they’ll be hosting a playoff game instead of playing the role of Wild Card team on the road.
A bunch of smoke and mirrors, plus games against weaker opponents now have the Steelers vying to build for the future. At any given moment, players could retire, stars could begin to dwindle and stars that fans have grown to love could go out the door.
Pittsburgh will have several free agents to pay this offseason. When looking at the salary cap heading into 2021, the Steelers won’t be able to pay many names without using the franchise tag. And if the team has accepted their status as middle of the pack, they could just look to begin fresh.
Eventually, all good things must come to an end. These three Steelers likely will be wearing a different uniform in 2021.
Three Steelers that will be gone in the 2021 offseason
James Conner was the ultimate feel-good story of the 2017 draft. Right after beating cancer and coming back to the Pitt Panthers’ offense, the Steelers made him their third-round pick. He was coming home to a team he adored as a child and would continue his career in a place he loved.
That homecoming story is nice, but it only works when the production is there. That hasn’t been the case in 2020.
Conner looked to be the next great running back in 2017 when he tallied nearly 1,000 yards. Since then he hasn’t come close to the mark, averaging just 4.1 yards per carry and scoring a combined 10 touchdowns. Add in the fact that running backs aren’t as valuable as in years past and it puts Conner in a weird spot.
The team could bring him back on a hometown deal or let him walk. There’s always a team or two willing to overpay for a running back, meaning Conner’s days in the Steel City could be numbered following the postseason.