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Setting the odds on which Steelers will return in 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers roster could have some major turnover as it enters the 2019 season. When you add the eleven free agents, possible cap casualties, and players who are likely to be traded, this could be a very different team come September. In this article I take a look at all the players who could potentially leave, and give a percentage on the possibility of them being back in Pittsburgh:

  1. Antonio Brown – 20% – Enough has been written already about the Antonio Brown saga. It’s almost certain now he will be traded, but never underestimate the conservative nature of the Steelers front office. I’m sure they’d prefer some disingenuous AB apology, then hope he behaves himself in 2019.
  2. Le’Veon Bell – 30% – The only way Bell ends up back with the Steelers is if he finds the free agent market isn’t quite what he thought it would be. This doesn’t seem likely with all the available cap space multiple teams have. Art Rooney refused to completely shut the door on the possibility of brining Bell back in recent interviews.
  3. Marcus Gilbert – 50% – Gilbert is the number one potential cap casualty on the Pittsburgh Steelers due to his $7 million cap hit and health issues. The team is deep with tackle candidates to replace Gilbert. The list includes his 2018 replacement Matt Feiler, third round pick Chukwuma Okorafor, injured tackle Jerald Hawkins, and even Zach Banner. It’s not impossible to think the team would elect to keep Gilbert for his final season. When right, he is one of the top right tackles in the league.
  4. Ramon Foster – 45% – The Steelers have been grooming Foster’s replacement in BJ Finney for some time now. With Foster now turning 33, this would seem like the perfect time to make the move. All that said, resigning Foster makes sense as well. He is still playing at a high level, and is a very good locker room presence.
  5. Jesse James – 75% – Hard to imagine there will be a big market for James in free agency. The question is whether the Steelers want to upgrade the tight end position for next season. With all the other needs this team has, it’s probably smart to lock James up and worry about tight end in 2020.
  6. Morgan Burnett – 0% – I would’ve given this a better than 50% chance before Burnett asked to be released. I doubt Kevin Colbert was ready to admit his mistake here until his hand was forced.
  7. Bud Dupree – 90% – Bud is due over nine million dollars on his fifth year option this upcoming season. Most teams would cut him at that price immediately, but not the Pittsburgh Steelers. They see something in him that no one else can apparently. Hopefully they can work out a long term deal, and lower that cap hit significantly. Bud Dupree is not Jarvis Jones bad, but he is NOT a nine million dollar player.
  8. Jordan Berry – 40% – Mike Tomlin took a few subtle shots at his inconsistent punter this season. The Steelers seem ready to improve their punter position. At the very least, the team will bring in some competition to force Berry to win his job next season.
  9. Chris Boswell – 50% – This is the ultimate 50/50 proposition. If Boz can come back fully healthy and fix his accuracy issues, he will be the Steelers kicker in 2019. That is some pretty big “ifs” though. The Steelers will use the entire pre-season to determine whether or not Boswell has regained his Pro-Bowl form.
  10. Darrius Heyward-Bey – 10% – The time has finally come to part ways with DHB. Special teams has been his calling card for years now, but even that is slipping. The fact that he is a Mike Tomlin favorite gives him an outside shot at a roster spot.
  • Best of the rest – Tyson Alualu – 20%, Daniel McCullers 0%, Justin Hunter 10%, Stevan Ridley less than 0%
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