Will the biggest battle of the Steelers’ offseason be at kicker?
There is plenty for the Steelers organization to do now that the 2015 season has ended: free agents to sign, contracts to restructure, maybe a retirement or two, and of course improving the players under contract.
The biggest free agent signing of 2015 after DeAngelo Williams–and in some regards a bigger signing than Williams–was Chris Boswell. While Boswell wasn’t an offseason acquisition like Williams, he added as much value to the team as the talented runner did.
When starting kicker Shaun Suisham went down in the preseason with a torn ACL, the Steelers brought in some veteran kickers to fill the gap.
Suisham’s first replacement, Garrett Hartley, went down with an injury as well. Next, the Steelers traded with the Jacksonville Jaguars for kicker Josh Scobee. Scobee went on to cost the Steelers an early season win against the division rival Ravens.
The man who would be kicker entered the fifth game of the season and would not relinquish his role in 2015. Chris Boswell proved to be a reliable kicker for the Steelers and made a strong case for the position of kicker in the 2016 season.
Shaun Suisham might not hand it over without a fight. In an interview with steelers.com, Suisham indicated that the job wasn’t free for the taking.
The importance of the kicker position was made all too apparent during the Steelers’ 2015 campaign. Losing Suisham led to an early season loss and the loss of a sixth round draft pick–the Jaguars’ compensation for Scobee. Now, the Steelers have two proven players to choose from.
The Steelers likely won’t have too many big camp battles this year, aside from a few in the defensive secondary and maybe backup tight end. A battle between two excellent kickers might be the one to watch.