Ask any Steelers’ fan if they knew who Chris Boswell was back on that evening in August when Shaun Suisham went down with a season-ending knee injury. Ask any Steelers’ fan if they knew anything about Boswell when Garrett Hartley suffered a serious leg injury weeks later. Go ahead, ask any Steelers’ fan if they knew Rice University even had a football program let alone a former kicker with the last name Boswell as Josh Scobee missed kick after kick.
Any one Steelers’ fan that says “oh yeah. I’ve heard of him” is flat-out lying or they’re a Rice University graduate.
Boswell, as it turned out, became the savior the Steelers’ were looking for when he finally arrived on the scene in the week four game at San Diego. All he would do from that point on was make 29 of his 32 field goal attempts and knock home 26 of his 27 point after touchdown attempts. In the playoffs, he added seven field goals in seven attempts to further solidify his place as the Steelers’ kicker of the future.
Not so fast we are told as Shaun Suisham will be in camp this summer to compete for the kicking job he once so strongly held.
Now if we use common sense, something not often deployed by rabid Steelers’ fans, we would have to think that Suisham is going to be trade bait for a team that falls into a similar situation that we had in 2015. Include the cap hit that Shuisham’s deal would bring in 2016 which is $3.5 million (compared to Boswell’s at $525,000) and what you have is a situation where you can get similar productivity for much less money.
The idea of an actual competition in camp is somewhat of a waste of time in my mind. The Steelers know what they have now in both men and what they have is eerily similar results. In 2014, Suisham’s field goal numbers were exactly the same as Boswell’s were this past season. In terms of touchbacks, 35.9% of Suisham’s kickoffs weren’t returned while Boswell, who had 15 fewer KO attempts than did Suisham, had a percentage of 35.1%
The real reason the Steelers will bring both men to camp has less to do with a competition and more to do with learning from last season. If you recall, Suisham had no one to compete with, then was lost for the season in the very first preseason game and boom! The Steelers were searching for kickers when they could have had one in camp.
Assuming, and yes I know what happens when we “assume,” both men are at the top of their respective games in camp then I would expect Suisham to be moved either by trade or outright release. In a perfect world, a team with a kicking problem would offer a sixth or seventh rounder prior to the draft allowing the Steelers to get something back they lost when they traded for Scobee.
That remains pretty doubtful however.
The Steelers head into 2016 with a much better situation than they did last year and even that wasn’t bad. At least not until Suisham went down and then things got very ugly for several weeks. I think the Steelers learned their lesson and will let this play out however they choose to define it.
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