Heath Miller and 5 Tight End Options the Pittsburgh Steelers Should Consider
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a tough spot at the moment, as off-season signing LaDarius Green was supposed to be a big win at the tight end position.
With the retirement of long-time Steeler Heath Miller, the team looked to invest in some youth and upside with Green, who in turn was hoping to bust out after playing in Antonio Gates’ shadow for the first four years of his career with the San Diego Chargers.
Things haven’t gone as planned for either side, as Green reportedly had continued headaches stemming from concussions he sustained while in San Diego and hasn’t been able to practice or play because of the symptoms.
Ladarius Green didn’t tell Steelers about headaches when he signed $20 million deal https://t.co/uqwlZhWHgg
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 12, 2016
Not That Bad?
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has down-played Green’s concussion symptoms, suggesting the team has held him out of organized activities due to off-season ankle surgery.
Recent reports tell a different story, however, with Green possibly going on season-ending injured reserve, while other reports have pondered his possible retirement.
If the Steelers really are in a jam at tight end, they may need to do more than give backup Jesse James some extra practice reps. They may have to find a way to bring in another able body at the position.
Should the situation be that dire, here are five big names they could consider acquiring:
Lure Heath Miller Out of Retirement
While the Steelers were aiming high with their transition to the athletic Green, they may have to cut their losses here. If that ends up being the case, what’s better than going back to a living legend?
Miller was the main tight end for the Steelers for 11 seasons and is just freshly retired. Ben Roethlisberger, who is good friends with Miller, could reach out to see if he can come back for one more season to help the team out of a jam.
Trade For Vernon Davis
Vernon Davis seems to have lost a step or two over the past two years, but he also hasn’t had a huge role or a ton of help around him.
He’s buried again in Washington, so there is a decent chance he either makes the Redskins as a the team’s third tight end or even gets cut. With final cuts still two weeks away, the Steelers may not have enough time to sit and wait.
Davis could be washed up, but on paper he still is a size/speed freak. That was what Green was supposed to bring to the table, so if he’s down for the count, the Steelers could try to get an older version and then draft a young tight end next year.
Give Baltimore a Call
This makes so much sense, yet is impossible with both teams playing in the AFC North. There is absolutely no way the Ravens help their rivals out here, but there is no denying their collection of able-bodied tight ends.
Baltimore has blossoming young talent in Maxx Williams and Crockett Gillmore, just signed veteran pass-catcher Ben Watson this off-season and is even getting Dennis Pitta back.
While there is no way the Ravens trade one of these guys to Pittsburgh, it’s unlikely they all make the final roster. Don’t be shocked the odd man out ends up with the Steelers.
Hope Trey Burton Gets Cut
Just like with the Ravens and Vernon Davis, there are a ton of quality secondary talents at the tight end position that the Steelers will want to keep an eye on.
Burton is one of them, as he was a sensation in the preseason last year and has been impressive again in training camp this summer.
The problem is the Eagles have a bunch of tight ends and Zach Ertz and Brent Celek look to have the top two jobs locked up. If they don’t want to keep Burton, he could quickly be available to the highest bidder.
Bring in Owen Daniels
One other free agent could draw Pittsburgh’s eye, and that’s the always savvy Owen Daniels. Daniels probably doesn’t mind the idea of retiring as a Super Bowl champ at 33, but he showed last year he can still ball.
Daniels isn’t the blocker or red-zone menace the Steelers probably want, but he’s a good route-runner and has some of the softest hands in the league. This might be one of their last options, but it oddly could be their best one.
Can’t Afford to Regress
The Steelers need something to break their way here. Either Green comes back healthy, James provides them with a legit threat at tight end or they need to seek outside help.
The harsh reality is the Steelers are slowly losing ground on offense as it is. Martavis Bryant is suspended for the year due to substance abuse, Le’Veon Bell is expected to miss the first four games of the season due to a failed drug test and now Green may not play a down.
Pittsburgh needs a win on offense. Whether that means they bring back Miller, or sign/trade for a big name remains to be determined.
Bovada currently still loves the Steeler’s Super Bowl odds (+1200), but it’s worth wondering if that number will take a hit with the team continuously losing offensive firepower.
Think the Steelers stand pat and hope Green can play? Think Jesse James is the answer or got a better option? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
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