Steelers Free Agent Grades: A bad midseason only got worse

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron (85). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron (85). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron (85) (Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Eric Ebron

Grade: B-

When the Steelers signed Eric Ebron in the offseason, the fan base erupted with excitement. The team finally had their move tight end, and he and Ben Roethlisberger would light the world on fire. It took a while for the two to connect, but eventually, Roethlisberger began using Ebron as more of a safety valve as the season went on. As well, his red-zone production went up slightly as did his weekly receptions.

He certainly had his struggles with play after the catch. As well, drops popped up down the stretch for Ebron (as well as most of the Steelers) but it should be noted that in the three years that Pro Football Reference has logged them, Ebron’s drop percentage of 7.7 percent was the lowest calculated for him That may be more telling of his overall play, by drops shouldn’t have been surprising given his previous problems there.

It’ll be interesting to see if he makes it to the second year on his contract. With Vance McDonald likely going to be a cap casualty this offseason, the Steelers will have a huge hole at the position. Ebron is owed a hefty cap charge of over 8 million dollars next year. He may not be worth it, but the Steelers may not have a better solution than to keep him around. While his grade went up slightly, he was still far from the threat that the Steelers hoped he would be.

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The Steelers found success in the draft this offseason, but they had their usual share of misses in free agency. The team doesn’t like to build through free agency thankfully, and that was evident the last offseason. The players added struggled and weren’t worth the money. When your best addition was a returner late in the offseason, it is telling of the quality of play from the players added.