Home Steelers Offseason Steelers Waste Little Time in Adjusting to New Kickoff; Bring in Patterson

Steelers Waste Little Time in Adjusting to New Kickoff; Bring in Patterson

by Steeldad

Give credit where credit is due. On the same day that the National Football League drastically altered its kickoff, the Pittsburgh Steelers went out and signed a guy that has returned kicks better than almost anyone. The Steelers and Cordarrelle Patterson have reportedly agreed to a two-year deal.

Patterson is entering his 12th season in the League and I totally understand the concerns over that but I like this signing. The four-time all-pro made the switch from wide receiver to running back several years ago and served in that role for new Steelers’ Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith in Atlanta the last three seasons. But his main role in Pittsburgh will be as a kick returner. While he has just 16 total returns in the last two seasons he does have a 103-yard TD return in that span too.

With significant changes to the NFL’s kickoff likely bringing more returns, the Steelers were proactive. They looked for and found a veteran and extremely experienced return man to take advantage of the new rules. Patterson has nine career kickoff returns for touchdowns. As for his role in the offense, I would plant him firmly as a number three running back behind Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.

In the last couple of weeks the Steelers have signed a number of rather ‘average’ wide receivers like Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins. Patterson’s signing however has a much greater impact on Calvin Austin III. Entering his third season, Austin showed some glimpses, especially on punt returns but this move indicates his time as a kick returner is over. Don’t be surprised if Austin’s roster spot becomes tenuous during Training Camp.

My expectations for Patterson are not high but I like what the Steelers did here. This is a fairly safe signing with more upside than downside and Patterson has experience beyond most other guys in the locker room. Taken together, that experience and return success could pay dividends.

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