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Who is the Answer for the Steelers at Tight End?

Steelers tight end Brook Ward via flickr


Pittsburgh is in Search of Next Great Steelers Tight End

It has been two seasons since Steelers great, tight end Heath Miller, announced his retirement. Miller was always a fan favorite as you could always hear the “HEATHHH” chants surrounding Heinz Field. Production wise, he left a huge hole to fill in the Steelers offense. In his 11 seasons as Pittsburgh’s tight end, Heath Miller accounted for 592 receptions for 6,569 yards and 45 touchdowns. Now, with Miller gone, Pittsburgh must find the next great Steelers tight end.

Current Tight Ends on Roster

In the search for the next great Steelers tight end, you must first look at what they currently have on the roster. Pittsburgh shocked a lot of people this offseason regarding the tight end position. First, they didn’t take any tight ends in the draft, which a lot of draft experts had predicted them to do. Then, following the draft, the Steelers released Ladarius Green. Green had just signed a huge deal as a free agent before the 2016 season and there were expectations for him to do huge things. Unfortunately, the Steelers were never able to see his full potential as Green battled concussion issues.

With the release of Green, this leaves the Steelers with three experienced tight ends on their current roster. These players include Jesse James, Xavier Grimble, and David Johnson. James, the most likely to be the starter out of this group, has shown signs of being the next Heath Miller. In the 2016 season, James finished with 39 receptions for 338 yards and three touchdowns. As a result of Green’s concussion near the end of the 2016 season, Grimble saw his role increase. He accounted for 11 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns in 2016. David Johnson has seen playing time at both tight end and fullback as a member of the Steelers. In the 2016 season, Johnson finished with seven receptions for 80 yards.

Free Agency Options

Unfortunately, few talented free agents remain at the tight end position for Pittsburgh to consider. However, one proven tight end, recently released, has yet to find a team. Surprisingly, the Cleveland Browns released tight end Gary Barnidge. This came after they drafted David Njoku in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. During his nine seasons with the Browns, Barnidge accounted for 178 receptions for 2,258 yards and 14 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Barnidge, he still is waiting to get an official call from an NFL team.

My Choice – Stick With What You’ve Got!

After thinking about all of the possible options, I believe that Pittsburgh holds the next great Steelers tight end on their roster. Like I said before, Jesse James has shown signs of being the next Heath Miller in the Steelers offense. Also, it helps that Xavier Grimble is on the rise, so he can help James by being a rotational player. If James can continue to improve and become the type of player that Miller was, the Steelers could be well on their way to another Super Bowl victory.

*Stats found via

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