The ginormous waste of salary cap dollars that is Steelers FB Derek Watt
WOOSH! Do you hear the? It's the sound of the Pittsburgh Steelers flushing money down the toilet.
Pittsburgh took a big swing, missing out on the off-season signing full-back Derek Watt.
Despite not having consistently deployed a full-back in a while, the Steelers still signed a $ 9.75 million 3-year deal - including $ 3.25 million warranties and a $ 1 signing bonus Million dollars. A cash payout totaling $ 4.25 million.
The ink wasn't even dry on his contract and Watt had already made more money with the Steelers than in four seasons with the San Diego / LA. Charger.
With this lucrative deal, Pittsburgh had to expect to be a force in fullback. After all, Watt was the "unsung hero" in Los Angeles and led the way for Pro Bowl that ran back Melvin Gordon.
After Watt signed, there was speculation that the Steelers planned to get involved in the running game, which they hadn't done since 2018. And the timing couldn't be better. 38-year-old Ben Roethlisberger, who had been in elbow rehab for a year, used the run to relieve the pressure.
Only Pittsburgh didn't do that. In nine games, Watt was involved in an average of 7.6 percent, or 49 offensive snaps - that's less than a dozen per game.
Here is the breakdown:
Courtesy Pro Football Focus
Pittsburgh's ground attack had some success early in the season. Benny Snell logged 113 yards in Week 1, followed by more than 100 yard games by James Conner in Weeks 2, 3, and 6. Since then, the floor game has deteriorated before their eyes, but for some reason the Steelers have refused an apartment-out to use Watts as a run blocker.
There could be several reasons for this. You may have noticed that Watt is not as good as you imagined - he's done multiple roles (including once on the goal line against the Washington Football team) and has a PFF rating of 42.6.
Perhaps Watt's previous injuries persist and limit his ability. Derek struggled with knee and shoulder injuries throughout his time in the West. In Pittsburgh, training camp was first slowed down due to the COVID shutdown, then Watt was relieved after an undisclosed off-season surgery. Three weeks into the regular season, he suffered a hamstring tension that resulted in him missing 5.5 games.
To make up for the on-site shortcomings, the Steelers have been many four-receiver sets up until now, and bringing watts onto the field means someone has to jump off.
At this point, whatever the reason for Watt's lack of playing time, the Steelers must increase his role on the offensive and give him more opportunities to prove himself. When recipients drop balls, Roethlisberger keeps throwing them at them. Teams that use a full-back as a lead blocker - the Minnesota Vikings (C.J. Ham) and Cleveland Browns (Andy Janovich) - have two of the league's most successful running games, Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb.
While Watt makes few backfield contributions, with 15 key games, two tackles, and an assist, he has been an integral part of the success of specialty teams (although this is nothing like his use in California).
Courtesy Pro Football Focus
Nothing about Watt, however, says he's worth $ 4.25 million, let alone nearly $ 10 million over the life of his contract.
If he continues to be nothing but a (very expensive) ace on a special team, Pittsburgh will have to cut its losses and Derek Watts before reaching its $ 1 million roster bonus in March.
Injury update from Steelers vs Bengals: G Kevin Dotson OUT
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