Pittsburgh Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin has gone on the record before as saying the idea of his team being in “Win Now” mode wasn’t something he subscribed to because in his mind, the team is always about “winning now.” I see his point but in the last two days the Steelers have made two moves to bolster areas where they were desperately lacking. To me, Tomlin’s thinking has evolved.
Besides the trade for tight end Vance McDonald, the Black and Gold have now also signed former Brown Joe Haden to a three-year deal worth $27 million dollars. Both of these moves are uncharacteristic for the Steelers and that’s why it’s clear to me the approach by the team is clearly different in 2017.
Neither of these moves are to be considered “home runs” because both guys have issues. McDonald has had problems hanging onto catchable balls and Haden has not played an entire season since his rookie campaign of 2010. He has missed 14 games in the last two seasons and according to several sources, has had two fairly recent groin surgeries.
The positive of course is that both guys are still upgrades over the players that originally manned those positions. McDonald is a much better receiving threat than Jesse James and Haden has the ability to play man coverage unlike Ross Cockrell. In other words, the upside for both McDonald and Haden is worth the risk for Kevin Colbert and the Steelers.
You might be wondering why the Steelers seem to be changing their paradigm a bit and that’s fair. Overreacting and making moves for the sake of making moves is not what the Steelers do. So why now?
Do the Steelers believe Ben Roethlisberger may actually be playing his final season? If so, will Maurkice Pouncey follow him out the door as he’s promised? Maybe the ‘win now’ attitude is also because they have no intention of bringing Le’Veon Bell back after this season.
Whatever the reason, the Steelers made sure they’d have some cap space so these moves were possible. However you want to slice it and regardless of what Colbert and Tomlin say, the 2017 Steelers are looking to “win now.”
Photo courtesy: Cleveland.com