It’s like deja-vu all over again for Steelers fans as another major negative event has stricken the team. Last offseason the news hit that star wide receiver Martavis Bryant had been suspended for the entire season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. This year, it’s oft-injured tight end Ladarius Green has been cut by the Steelers after only one year with the team. Green apparently failed a physical which resulted in Pittsburgh deciding to move on from their big 2016 free agent signing. Concussions were the main issue for the talented tight end. Green’s season ended after he suffered one against the Buffalo Bills after playing only a handful of games for the team.
The similarities between these two offseason losses are eerily similar. Both take major blows to the Steelers offense, and both seemed to catch the team unprepared. All signals pointed to the front office being confident in a full return by Ladarius Green. The team didn’t draft a tight end, or pursue one during free agency. Likewise last off-season, the team didn’t make any moves for a receiver prior to the Bryant suspension. Could Kevin Colbert and company be making the same mistake again by assuming they have enough on the roster to overcome this loss? Last season the thought was Sammie Coates would step in and mitigate the loss of Bryant. Injuries, and a lack of experience derailed that hope. The team never were able to get decent production out of the second wide receiver spot. This season remains to be seen if the Steelers will stand pat with what they have, or add another tight end going forward. Jesse James is an adequate replacement, and is often overlooked by Steelers fans. He does not have the big play explosiveness that is left behind now that Ladarius Green is gone. Xavier Grimble showed flashes of being a pass catching threat, while David Johnson is more than a capable blocker. It would seem the Steelers have enough on hand to get by at the position, but then again we thought that about the receiver position last year and it didn’t turn out well at all. Let’s hope this is where the deja-vu begins and ends in 2017,