4 tight ends Steelers could target in the 2021 offseason

Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
1 of 4

The Steelers are going to be looking to upgrade the tight end position next year. Here are four players who will be on Pittsburgh’s radar.

The Steelers have experimented with trying to stream tight ends since Heath Miller hanged up his cleats back in 2015. Unfortunately, that strategy hasn’t yearly paid out for them. While Vance McDonald had a good year in 2018, for the most part Pittsburgh has drastically overpaid for serviceable talent.

Ladarius Green was the first in line to be streamed after Heath was gone, but concussions shortened his career and he dressed for just 6 games for the Steelers. Vance McDonald had one good year with the Steelers, and despite Eric Ebron’s reputation as a former first-round pick, he’s been detrimental to Pittsburgh’s offense at times this year.

After backloading their tight end contracts, the Steelers have put themselves in a bit of a pickle. Ebron and McDonald are on track to make a combined $16.4 million in 2021, according to Over the Cap – something the Steelers will clearly not allow to happen. It’s entirely possible that both players could be gone this offseason thanks to their unreasonably high cap hits. By releasing them, Pittsburgh could instantly save $11.2 million.

Still, this position will no doubt be a priority to sure up in 2021. Here are four tight ends who could be on the Steelers radar this coming offseason:

Jonnu Smith

While the numbers don’t exactly jump off the stat sheet for Jonnu Smith this year, he is having another very solid season, and he fits the bill of what Pittsburgh typically looks for in their tight ends. Smith can line up all over the formation and make plays in the open field thanks to his terrific athletic traits.

While Smith is a bit on the smaller side (6’3”, 248 lbs) he doesn’t lack in aggressiveness, but like Ebron, blocking isn’t exactly his forte. Still, the 25-year-old tight end would be an upgrade over what the Steelers have right now. Smith is projected to make as much as $8 million per season, but Pittsburgh can push much of that money back by giving him a long-term deal.