With 20 players reaching unrestricted free agency, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of tough choices to make over who to extend and who to a let walk. In Steelers Nation debate rages furiously over whether players like Bruce Gradkowski or Ramon Foster should be welcomed back.
Capsule Profile of Clifton Geathers & Byron Stingly’s Careers with the Steelers
When the Steelers placed Brett Keisel on injured reserve in 2014, ending his fabulous NFL career, they signed Clifton Geathers to “replace him.” Geathers never played a down, and Steel Curtain Rising considered writing an April Fools article titled, “Steelers Resign Clifton Geathers.” Then the Steelers actually went ahead and resigned Clifton Geathers…. Geathers lost weight, and Steelers defensive line coach Johnny Mitchell beamed about Geathers when asked about him after the 2015 NFL Draft.
- Unfortunately, Geathers got injured in training camp, and still has not played a down for the Steelers.
Like Geathers, Bryon Stingily was an injury replacement who took Kelvin Beachum’s spot as the Alejandro Villanueva stepped into the starting role. Like Geathers, Byron Stingily has yet to play a down for the Steelers.
The Case for Steelers Keeping Clifton Geathers and Byron Stingily
Since coming to Pittsburgh in 2000, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert has had a knack for picking up quality “street free agents,” and that’s as strong as an argument as you can make for keeping either of these guys….
The Case Against Steelers Keeping Clifton Geathers and Byron Stingily
…Which is to say, it is a pretty weak argument. Neither man has proven much in the NFL and it is hard to think that the Steelers wouldn’t be able to find someone who can provide the same level of depth and perhaps bring greater upside.
Curtain’s Call on Steelers and Clifton Geathers and Byron Stingily
The fact is the Steelers need depth behind Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt and presently have NONE. They also have the matter of Steve McLendon being a free agent. Clifton Geathers knows the system, and Johnny Mitchell is boom or bust when it comes to developing young defensive lineman.
- The Steelers can both shop for better alternatives AND bring Geathers back at a veteran minimum, no risk contract.
As for Byron Stingily, the Steelers have Mike Adams coming back for his final year and Alejandro Villanueva, should they be unable to resign Kelvin Beachum. Is Stingily a viable option? The fact the he did not play in 2015 would suggest he is not and the Steelers should seek their depth elsewhere.