May 21, 2019
Is the Pittsburgh Steelers' Artie Burns on the "hot seat?" Are his playing days in Black and Gold over? One reporter believes the answer could be yes.
NFL offseason agendas: Barnwell's to-do lists for all 16 AFC teams
Bill Barnwell, ESPN.com
No NFL team manages to fill all of its holes during the offseason. Each has a weak point or two that gets revealed by injuries or disappointing play over the course of a season. Even the most successful offseasons of 2018 prove that point. The Bears surrounded Mitchell Trubisky with talent, acquired a dominant pass-rusher in Khalil Mack and won the NFC North, only to see the kicker who signed a four-year extension sputter out and collapse at the worst possible moment. The Colts needed to turn to midseason acquisition Dontrelle Inman when their wideouts were struggling to stay healthy.
Every NFL team still has some work to do. In some cases, that's filling a roster spot or supplementing a positional group. In others, it's locking up a player who is about to hit free agency. Some teams have much more to do over the next few months than others.
After identifying on Monday the key things all 16 NFC teams have to accomplish before the calendar turns to September, let's finish up today with the AFC, where we still have one team in need of a general manager as we approach June:
Explore the trade market for Artie Burns. It's too early to give up on Burns, who looked to be a promising cornerback as recently as this time last year, but the former first-round pick was torched during the first half of 2018 before being benched for virtually the entire second half of the campaign. The Steelers declined his fifth-year option and signed Steven Nelson to take Burns' place in the lineup; at this point, it's probably more important for the organization to see what Cameron Sutton and Justin Layne have to offer.
Burns should have some trade value, given that he's still just 24 and would cost the acquiring team only $1.8 million. Teams like the Chiefs, Eagles and Patriots are fond of taking shots on rookie deal corners, although you would understand if the Steelers didn't exactly want to pick up the phone and dial any of those rivals. It might instead make sense to target NFC teams like the Lions and Cardinals as possible trade partners.
Then we have an opinion on who the best rookie for the Steelers will be in 2019:
Predicting every NFL team's breakout rookie
Michael McClymont, Jack Browne, theScore.com
With rookie minicamps in the rearview mirror and mandatory minicamps set to start in June, theScore is highlighting one first-year player from each NFL team with the best opportunity to succeed from Day 1.
Pittsburgh: LB Devin Bush
The Steelers' offense didn't miss a beat without Le'Veon Bell in 2018 but the same can't be said for the team's defense without the injured Ryan Shazier. His athleticism and coverage skills were perfect for today's pass-happy NFL, and without him, Pittsburgh was routinely torched in the middle of the field. Bush is a similarly modern prototype due to his ability to excel in coverage and rush the passer while not being a liability in run defense. He won't immediately replace Shazier, but his ability to wreak havoc on every level should spark a return to form for the entire Steelers defense.
Finally for today, the MMA fighter that just won't go away...Conor McGregor. The former champion is still making excuses for his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov:
"The injury itself led me to have to halve my work. I couldn't road run anymore. My weight was too high. So, when you're cutting weight, if I can't get my weight because of injuries or whatnot I have a more intense weight cut. So, I was severely dehydrated. I didn't sleep for 48 hours before the weight cut. But these are all just nonsensical excuses. I attack. I am an attacker. And my attack defends. But this camp, for some reason, the entire focus was defense. It still irritates me to this day."