Should the Steelers bid on TE Eric Ebron if available?
After recent comments by Colts GM, Chris Ballard suggests a future departure between the team and TE Eric Ebron, the Steelers could pursue & possibly fill a major position of need.
A former top-ten pick. Very well, one of the major fantasy steals of 2018. Also, only 27 years old once the 2020 season begins and poised to enter the “prime” of his career, Colts TE Eric Ebron is also expected to hit the market after recent comments made by Colts GM Chris Ballard. What could be a fair share of suitors going after Ebron’s talent, Steelers would be wise in giving him a close look as well.
At the beginning of his career in 2014, Ebron started in Detroit with one of the more controversial-performing QBs in the league, Matthew Stafford. Only breaking the 60+ reception marker one time out his 4 years with the Lions, the narrative for bust riddled throughout this time until the move to Indianapolis.
Jumping to 2018, a perfect pairing occurred. Former Colts QB Andrew Luck would target Ebron for a career-high 110 times, reeling in 66 catches and though only he amassed 750 receiving yards, he finished the year with 13 touchdowns. Making him third in the league for receiving touchdowns, and most among all TEs, the two became a legit duo-threat for defenses.
Now in 2019, one of the most surprising retirements in all of sports with Andrew Luck happened even before kickoff Sunday, and unsurprisingly the Colts offense took a major decline. Appearing in 11 games but only starting in two, Ebron produced near career-lows in receptions (31) & receiving yards (375).
A brief summary for the 6-year player, this is where it gets tricky. During this time, Ebron’s 2018 season appears as an anomaly. Though he had 13 touchdowns, in all other 5 years he combined for just 14. So, where does the success allude to?
Playing alongside one of the greatest pure talents this league has seen in history versus Matthew Stafford will certainly do wonders for anybody, and a new home can always act as a breath of fresh air for any athlete’s career. However, during Luck’s tenure as a Colt, no other TE has ever reached more than 8 touchdowns in a single-season. 13 isn’t typical for just any receiver in the league, but to have that ability is still telling. It’ll make for an interesting offseason for Ebron on exactly where teams view his value.
Does the Talent Outweigh the Risk for the Steelers?
Ebron’s career may be debatable on what evidence to point out to judge the player he is, but there’s no denying his ceiling. Aside from that, his durability has been well for the most part.
Though coming off a year where he appeared in his least amount of games in a single-season (11), the truth remains cloudy as to why Ebron ended up on IR.
This could very well be the reason for Ballard’s tension behind his comments as noted earlier. Whether the motivation was for future business endeavors or an honest statement of being injured, both can be true but shouldn’t hold much stock in choosing to pursue him or not.
The natural talent Ebron possesses is enough and where he has been most effective, was the Steelers “Achilles Heel” on offense in 2019.
Ranked dead last in red-zone efficiency, and while the cause is attributed to many things, the potential pairing for Ebron & Steelers could not come at a more perfect time as QB Ben Roethlisberger is set to return next year as well.
Coming off a 2-year, $13 million contract, the price for Ebron isn’t projected to be lucrative, but the commitment may be the bigger question. At the peak of his NFL career, the minor injuries may play its part but the natural decline of the NFL TE exists in this timeframe for Ebron on a contract as such.
However, if the trend follows, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has a chance to snag one of the more gifted players at the position that could do wonders for this offense.