Signing Eric Ebron: A
While I personally don’t think that Eric Ebron is one of the league’s best tight ends like many Steelers fans do, there are a lot of reasons to love this signing.
For starters, the price they were able to land Ebron for was much better than expected. Ebron was initially protected to make in the ballpark of $8-10 million per season. However, his two-year $12 million deal puts him right at $6 million per year. This number is significantly lower than other tight ends who signed this offseason, like 33-year old Jimmy Graham ($8 million per year) or Austin Hooper ($10.5 million per year).
Ebron’s contract was even cheaper than 35-year old Greg Olson ($7 million per year). But the discounted price was only one reason I loved this signing.
Perhaps the biggest thing the Ebron signing allows the Steelers to do is to avoid reaching for a tight end early in the 2020 NFL Draft. By most draft analysts’ standards (including my own), this is a weak group of tight ends this year. Even top prospects like Cole Kmet and Adam Trautman still have their flaws, and there should be better players available at other positions in the second round this year.
Pittsburgh now has Ebron, Vance McDonald, and Zach Gentry under contract as their top three tight ends, so it’s possible the Steelers could ignore the position altogether in 2020. Ebron should prove to be a solid signing who could help out Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense over the middle of the field.