The Steelers are lacking deep speed on offense. Here’s why free agent receiver Robby Anderson would fit perfectly into Pittsburgh’s game plan.
The good news is that Pittsburgh’s offense couldn’t get any worse in 2020 than it was in 2019. The bad news is that they are likely still missing a few pieces to get them back to being a dangerous unit again. Though the Steelers should be getting Ben Roethlisberger back, a lot of questions remain.
Many have pointed to tight end, running back, or offensive line as positions of need for the Steelers this offseason. However, getting the right wide receiver could be just as important as anything.
Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Washington make up a solid trio of young wide-outs. However, what the Steelers have desperately lacked is a legitimate deep threat. Some of Pittsburgh’s best offenses came with Martavis Bryant or Mike Wallace taking the top off the defense, but no such player was on the roster last season.
Admittedly, it’s not a great free agent group for wide receivers, and most of the high-profile players like A.J. Green and Amari Cooper are undoubtedly going to resign with their organizations. However, one free agent catches my eye above the rest: Robby Anderson.
Anderson was a former undrafted player back in 2016 who started and played his first four seasons with the New York Jets. Anderson was quick to explode onto the NFL scene – collecting 587 receiving yards as a rookie.
In his first two seasons, Anderson had to deal with poor quarterback play by aging players. Ryan Fitzpatrick was his signal-caller in 2016. The then 34-year old quarterback threw for just 2,710 passing yards to go with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. 2017 wasn’t much better, as the 38-year old Josh McCown took overthrowing for 2,926 yards in 13 starts.
Despite this rocky start to his career, Anderson still managed to turn heads with his blazing speed and ability down the field. As a result, the former undrafted player continued to lead the charge for the Jets and earned 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first four seasons.
Though the Steelers don’t have a lot of money to work with, landing a player like Robby Anderson is exactly what Pittsburgh’s offense is missing. During his Pro Day workout at Temple, Anderson was clocked running a 4.34-second 40-yard dash to go with a 36 1/2” vertical and 10’8” broad jump.
The Steelers currently don’t have a receiver that ran under a 4.52 40-yard dash, and they are desperately lacking speed deep down the field. Having an asset like Robby Anderson would fix that.
Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is in a bad way financially. They are currently 30th in the league in cap space heading into the offseason, and landing a player with coveted speed like Anderson would be no easy task. Anderson is projected to make $12 million per season on his new deal, according to Spotrac.com, but several cuts could free up the money they need quickly.
The Steelers will need to make a priority list this offseason, and I’m sure Bud Dupree comes high on their list of deals they would like to get done. But as Kansas City showed us this year, you can never have enough speed on offense. If Pittsburgh was able to land a player like Robby Anderson, it could take their offense to new heights.