2020 Steelers Season Recall: Pittsburgh makes moves during free agency

Steel City Underground presents our 2020 Steelers Recall: a look back at Pittsburgh Steelers games and storylines from last season.

Much of the same narrative surrounding this year’s Pittsburgh Steelers offseason was the same going back one year ago. The usual comments of how the team is inactive and doesn’t spend money, largely due to being up against their own salary cap, had most knowledgeable fans sitting out of a busy time that gets fans of other teams excited about their improving rosters.

However, the Steelers raised some eyebrows with a few moves I didn’t even see coming last year. Here are some of the players who were added and the thoughts on them at the time.

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DL Chris Wormley

The Steelers defensive line depth is always a question mark so it wasn’t a surprise that they went out and got a veteran player to shore up any issues – it was that they traded with their biggest rival in doing so.

Wormley, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, was lost in the shuffle in their defense. At the time, the move was thought to be a good one as Isaiah Buggs was still an unknown entering year two, Carlos Davis wasn’t drafted yet and the future of Daniel McCullers was always skeptic.

Regardless, the swap with the Ravens raised eyebrows as the free agency period loomed in the days ahead.

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FB Derek Watt

While the Steelers were doing some in-house deals with Zach Banner, Kameron Canaday, and Jordan Dangerfield, while tendering Matt Feiler and Mike Hilton, they also went outside the organization for another need after releasing FB Roosevelt Nix.

The first official signing of the 2020 offseason for the Steelers was to bring in Derek Watt, brother of T.J. and an immediate replacement for Nix (who missed most of 2019) and departing special teams ace, LB Tyler Matakevich.

The signing was a smart one in that aspect, as the Steelers running game struggled without a dedicated lead blocker in short-yardage situations the previous season.

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OL Stefen Wisniewski

With the retirement of Ramon Foster, the Steelers sought his replacement as well as some depth.

Matt Feiler, who had started at right tackle in 2019, was rumored to move to left guard to replace Foster – but he too was a restricted free agent and not guaranteed to come back.

The Steelers would also lose guard/center B.J. Finney, a stellar reserve lineman, to the Seattle Seahawks in free agency.

Enter the Pittsburgh native, Wisniewski, who played both guard and center throughout his career and was hot off of a stint with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Wisniewski was expected to be penciled in as a potential starter and could provide depth at both positions that were lost when Finney didn’t stay in the Steel City.

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TE Eric Ebron

The most surprising signing was that of a higher profile tight end.

When I saw this alert on my phone, I couldn’t figure out how the Steelers got the cap space necessary to make such a move.

Ebron, a former first round pick with the Detroit Lions, had recently lit up scoreboards with the Indianapolis Colts. After missing some time in Indy in 2019, he became expendable as the team had several other suitors at the same position.

The Steelers pounced on obtaining the dynamic offensive threat; an athletic tight end they’ve coveted for years since Heath Miller retired, while Ladarius Green and Xavier Grimble never worked out as they had hoped.

The thought was Ebron could add yet another weapon for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense, while pairing up with Vance McDonald for a new two tight end set wrinkle to the playbook.

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