Steelers Study Notes, 9/7/21: TJ Watt Worst-Case Scenarios, Updated Depth Chart, and Le’Veon Bell a Raven?

By Jeremy Hritz

It’s Tuesday, and we are only 5 days away from the opening regular season contest against the Buffalo Bills. Later today, Mike Tomlin will address the media for his first regular season press conference of the 2021, and things will begin to shift into a routine, despite one major part of the Steelers team still being unsettled and uncertain. As preparations continue for the Bills, here my Steelers Study Notes for 9/7/21 to get you ready for this Sunday.

  • So what is the holdup with TJ Watt, and will the deal get done before the end of the week? According to Dave Bryan of the Steelers Depot, the sticking point more than likely is the amount of fully guaranteed money Watt is asking for and what the Steelers are willing to give. Can they reach a common ground? Let’s hope so.
  • So let’s say Watt doesn’t sign a new deal, what could happen? One, he could play out the 5th year of his contract at $10.089 million dollars. Or, he could holdout and sit out the entire season. One thing is for certain, the Steelers do not negotiate during the regular season, so it’d be interesting to see if they’d continue talks should this not get finished in time. Also worth considering, would Watt play under his current contract in his 5th year and risk his massive payday to injury? And would he consider sitting out until he has a new contract? Let’s hope we don’t have to find out the answer to these questions.
  • I’ll say this, all this speculation about whether or not Watt will play this week if he doesn’t sign until late, write it down: he’s playing. Your not keeping that competitor on the bench. Not happening.
  • I saw in a few places there is concern that Alex Highsmith is injured, but cannot confirm this. Let’s hope this is not the case, or we could be looking at a depleted OLB room against Buffalo.
  • The Steelers released their regular season depth chart yesterday, with limited surprises: Dan Moore, Jr. is listed as the starting left tackle, Kendrick Green is listed as the starting center, and Pat Freiermuth is listed as a co-starter alongside Eric Ebron. I fully expect Moore to ball out and make it hard for the organization to put him back on the bench once Banner gets healthy.
  • Ahkello Witherspoon spoke to the media on Monday, and everybody was intrigued when he said that he wanted to become a doctor when his playing days are over. Lofty goals for a man who has already accomplished quite the goal in making it to the NFL. Love the ambition. Curious to see the coaches discuss how he will be utilized in the 2021 season.
  • Le’Veon Bell worked out for the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, as they continue to get ravaged at the RB position by injury. Could you imagine Al Villanueva blocking for Bell in Ravens’ jerseys? How things change…
  • Be on the lookout for my Ben Roethlisberger statistical projection ongoing article tomorrow (Wednesday) AM. This will be a weekly series that provides in depth analysis and projections of how Roethlisberger will perform in his upcoming contest.

That is all for today! Make it a great Tuesday!

  • Jeremy

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