Early grades for every Steelers 2021 free agency signing

JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers
Zach Banner Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Zach Banner

2-years, 9.5 million, 2.875 million cap hit

Grade: B

Coming back down to earth a little bit, Zach Banner got more money than most expected. While he certainly could outplay that valuation, his streaky record made giving him that much an inherent risk. Banner has looked good in limited play, but the problem is that he has only played a handful of games. Sure, he won the right tackle job last year, but he only played for part of the first game before going down with a season-ending injury.

He made 1.75 million last year, so considering he was injured for most of the year it seemed like he would get similar, if not less, money per year. What this really seems like is that the Steelers wanted to have an offensive tackle under contract past next year. This would slow down the overall turnover that the line is going through. It came at a cost though, as Banner is scheduled to earn more than he has proven to be worth this year.

That all said, this deal isn’t horrible. Like Sutton (and most of these deals) Banner can get cut next season with little consequence if he doesn’t work out. The upside on his deal is good as well. Banner will be given the chance to start again this season, and he has certainly earned that opportunity after salvaging his career after almost being out of the league. While the price was a little high based on past performance, this is a deal that Banner likely earns by the end of next season assuming he starts for the whole season.