I predicted, based on the cheap deal he signed, that the Steelers may only view Wisniewski as a backup. It turns out that my assessment was correct. Though the long-time interior offensive lineman has 103 career starts, Pittsburgh will likely use him as an interior swing lineman in the event of an injury this year.
For Wisniewski, this is a bummer. Ramon Foster had just retired and B.J. Finney headed for Seattle in free agency. Tomlin’s decision to kick Feiler inside to left guard means Wisniewski won’t see the field on offense unless an injury occurs in 2020.
Feiler still has a starting job, so why is he in the ‘losers’ column? Simple. He just missed out on a big payday. As I’m sure you are well aware, NFL offensive tackles are one of the highest-paid positions in the league.
Matt Feiler is set to play the 2020 season on the $3.2 million tender he signed this offseason. For as well as he played last season at right tackle, he could have been in line for a massive contract. Unless he proves to be a Pro Bowl-level player at guard, that eventual payday might end up being cut in half.
Dan McCullers is a player that’s never had a lot of business being on the Steelers roster in the first place. He plays sparingly on defense and isn’t mobile enough to do anything other than field goal protection on special teams.
There was finally a little light at the end of the tunnel for the 7th year defensive tackle. With Javon Hargrave gone, McCullers had a chance to step into a larger role – perhaps even compete for snaps as a base nose tackle. However, with Alualu kicking inside to 0-technique, McCullers’ role is yet again obsolete.
The Steelers still have some figuring out to do in the depth chart order, but much of that will be done during training camp. For now, Tomlin’s decisions give us a good insight into what we can expect moving forward.