Welcome to the Black & Gold Buzz
Today sees the end of the PFL Pre Season, as teams around the league make those final moves to get down to 53. Many will end up on Practice squads around the league, but for some, today is the sad day when their PFL dreams reach the end of the road.
With a couple of pre season wins there is cautious optimism that this year’s roster is improved on the previous year, but it does seem like there has been a changing of the guard, with Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown lining up in new colours for the 2020 season.
Some of the more established names to leave Pittsburgh in the last 24-48 hours include QB Joshua Dobbs, FB Roosevelt Nix, OL Germain Ifedi and local hero, HB James Conner, deemed expendable despite a pre season TD in Miami, after the late trade for Samaje Perine, from the Falcons.
So, who has made the 53?
Here is the list, as things stand, but there is always the possibility of further changes, after other teams announce their cuts…
CAPS indicates presumed Starter
Bold indicates new Steeler player for 2020
® indicates Rookie
Quarterback: B NICHOLSON ®, S Webber
Backs: T COLEMAN, J LEPSIS ®, F Spikes, S Perine, S Ware, L Smiley ®
Receivers: J SMITH-SCHUSTER, D ROBINSON, K Benjamin, R Evans, R McAfee
Tight End: D DOMAN, J James, B Hodges
O-Line: D DECASTRO, C LENO JR, E DOUGLAS, M GILBERT, H STEITZ ®, C Okorafor, B LeBlanc, A Villanueva, R Smart
D-Line: S TUITT, F BREELAND ®, G SHIANCOE, A TOWNSEL ®, M Collins, C Heyward, S Mabry ®, T Holmes, A Moss
Linebackers: R SHAZIER, TJ WATT, A LYNCH, J Iyiegbuniwe, R Wilson, A Walker Jr
Cornerbacks: A BURNS, T EDMUNDS, S Graves, R Robinson
Safeties: M BURNETT, C ADAMS, D Worley, C Ottis, J Layne ®
SLOT: M HILTON
Kicker: C BOSWELL
Punter: K TYNES
Returner: F SPIKES
With 15 new faces
on the 53, including EIGHT rookies, what does the season hold in store for Steelers Country?
The schedule has given a shocking start to the schedule, opening on the road, in Prime Time, at @ZoSo and his hated Bengals, before home games against @Winti26 and his Texans, before an almost immediate return match against the Bengals.
Of course, the big talking point and national focus of the opener will be on the Steelers rookie signal caller, Ben Nicholson, making his debut, in Prime Time, against Big Ben, who has made the controversial move to Cincinnati, after 16 years in Pittsburgh, as he wasn’t willing to accept the pay cut on offer.
By the time of the return match vs Cleveland in week 10 we should have a clear idea of how the changes made in Pittsburgh have worked, or not.
By the time the season finishes, with a road trip to see @hubblewiffle in Philadelphia, then a home season ender vs Baltimore, will there be a play off place on the line, or will it be just deciders for draft order??
….KING NEWS…BREAKING NEWS…BREA..
The Black & Gold Buzz hears from those well placed in the organisation , that newly acquired RB Samaje Perine, and star LB TJ Watt, have both at least verbally agreed to new deals within the organisation.
The excitement from fans over these two extensions may be tempered by the disappointment that JuJu Smith-Schuster is yet to agree a new deal, and it is believed that whilst an offer has been made, both sides have some work to do yet.
There will be more news on exact details of the new deals as soon as we have them….
….KING NEWS…BREAKING NEWS…BREA..
(The pic below shows the suspected offers for each player.)
…ALL ABOUT THAT MONEY…
As the Steelers approach their 4th game of the 2020 season, the big news out of HQ is that the team have came to an agreement with 23 year old WR JuJu Smith-Schuster on a 4 year extension to his current deal.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection is only earning the paltry sum of $1.25m in the last year of his rookie deal, but the top 5 WR sees his pay check jump to top 10 for the position for the 2021 season. Although his pay does escalate to a $21m cap hit in the final year of his new deal, a cap hit of $12.6m in 2021 is below that of 8 of his peers.
The total deal sees a 4 year extension at just over $66m. Fans and team are delighted to have the deal confirmed and hope that he can be rewarded with a play off push this season, despite early season set backs.
It had already leaked that new HB, Samaje Perine, and their front 7 king, TJ Watt, had also agreed new deals, and we have the figures with us now.
Both of these were also looking for their first payday after their original rookie deals.
Like JuJu, Samaje agreed a 4 year extension, at just under $20m. His 2021 cap hit will be $3.6m, as he looks to provide the power, alongside the explosion of Coleman and Spikes in the Steelers backfield.
And as for the man often asked to do it all (and more) on the Steelers Defense, TJ has agreed a 5 year extension, at around $44m, with a cost to the team of under $6m in 2021.
As the team looks to bounce back from 2 early defeats to @ZoSo and his Bengals, they will look to build on the positives from those defeats, and the win over @Winti26s Texans, as they look forward to matches against @tripperman28s Titans, and @Willos Browns, either side of a very early, week 5 bye week.
…The next edition of Black & Gold Buzz should be with you in that week 5 bye week – with a look back at those opening 4 games, and a look ahead to games against @Willo, @Triangle King, @rayski & @DanMcGrath77, in weeks 6-9…