The Pittsburgh Steelers have a severe lack of depth at the safety position. Here is why they missed their window of opportunity for Tre Boston.
For reasons unknown to me, the Pittsburgh Steelers were apparently comfortable with the safeties they have on the roster. They elected to ignore the safety position in both the draft and free agency this offseason.
Even in the wake of a Sean Davis finger injury, Pittsburgh didn’t even hint at the notion of adding safety help. The Steelers have expressed too much faith in Sean Davis. Though he has been healthy throughout his career, Pittsburgh would be in a bad way if Davis went down with injury.
The Steelers have next to no NFL experience between all of their backup safeties, and could use a veteran leader in the back end.
I have been pulling for Pittsburgh to make a move at a safety throughout the offsesaon, but their window to grab a good player is quickly closing. The Panthers recently broke the news that they have signed Tre Boston:
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) August 1, 2019
Boston was originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but played his last two seasons on the Chargers and Cardinals.
Though he has been a bit of journeyman throughout his career, Boston has been a solid football player. He earned a 74.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2018 – ranking him as the 24th best safety in the NFL a season ago.
Boston played some strong safety for the Cardinals last season, but has spent much of his career as a free safety. He would bring the versatility and veteran presence that they need.
Tre Boston turned just 27 years old this offsesaon, but has 5 years of NFL experience under his belt. Had the Steelers signed him, he could have competed with Sean Davis at free safety. He would have also given Pittsburgh leverage over Sean Davis, as the former 2nd round draft choice is entering the final year of his deal and is seeking a new contract.
The Steelers had just over $1M in cap space after signing their rookie class, and this wouldn’t have been enough to get a deal done. However, Pittsburgh recently restructured Stephon Tuitt’s contract – freeing up cap space for this season:
Team source confirms: Steelers have converted $5.195 million of DE Stephon Tuitt’s $6 million base salary into a signing bonus, creating $3.9 million in cap space this season. Tuitt, 26, is one of the highest paid defensive lineman in the league.
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) July 30, 2019
Free agency is drying up, and the Steelers have likely missed their window of opportunity to land a relevant safety that they can afford. Tre Boston isn’t perfect, but he would have been a solid fit in Pittsburgh.
It will be interesting to see how the Steelers intend to use what little cap space they have. They could still use help at the safety position, but Tre Boston is no longer an option in Pittsburgh.