2017 Offseason Questions: Is William Gay’s Roster Spot Vulnerable?

The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Could William Gay ended up being a salary cap casualty?

While the Pittsburgh Steelers are not exactly in desperate need of cap space any time soon, the reality is that the vast majority of their free space will be quickly absorbed by the re-signing or extension of their own players.

Not that that should even dictate the removal of a veteran over a paltry couple of million dollars. But at least one local writer believes that William Gay could wind up being a casualty at some point during the year, even if it comes late, in the final roster cuts.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette veteran writer Ed Bouchette was asked point blank in a recent chat if he believes that Gay will “stay”, as in stick on the roster, and his response was “I don’t believe so”. He also mentioned Gay later in the chat as a possible veteran that could be released.

The former 2007 fifth-round draft pick has been a starter for the majority of his career, although that distinction has often come as a result of injuries by others. He has spent most of his time since returning to the Steelers in the starting lineup.

Gay began the 2016 season as a starter on the outside, but when rookie Artie Burns began to get a better feel for the defense and was able to log more time, he kicked the veteran into the slot, where many believe that he is better suited.

But he didn’t always play at his best during the season, and many feel that his play has begun to regress beyond the age-30 mark. If the Steelers add another high-profile draft pick or moderate free agent to the position, adding into the mix the return of Senquez Golson for depth, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Gay gets shown his walking papers.

The cornerback is scheduled to make a base salary of $2 million this year, and if it comes time to start the season and he doesn’t find himself in the starting lineup in the slot, even in competition for being the top player off the bench, then there could be some validity to this position.

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