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2017 Offseason Questions: Would Gay Have Been Released If Spot Was Not Secure?

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: Should William Gay be considered safe by now if the Steelers were entertaining his release?

When it comes to veteran players, the Steelers usually go above and beyond to do right by them, particularly when it comes to parting ways with them in a timely fashion. If they know a player is not going to make the team, they try to give him an early release. They did that with LaMarr Woodley, for example.

So I have seen it suggested by a couple of beat writers over the past few days, who fielded questions from readers on the subject, that they see the roster spot for William Gay as relatively safe in the early days of June because, quite simply, if they were comfortable enough with what they had to move on from the old cornerback whom they feel can’t excel in tight man coverage, they would have done so already.

Personally, I’m struggling at the moment to come up with the last established veteran player who failed to make the final roster cuts after the preseason. Perhaps the most notable name in recent years might be Jonathan Dwyer, though he was later re-signed due to injury need early in the 2013 season.

Nobody of the stature anything like Gay’s, however, that I can come up with in the team’s recent history rings a bell as a player who missed the 53-man roster after being allowed to go through the full motions. This can be construed as a negative by some, no doubt, but for my purpose, it is a simple statement of fact.

But is it going too far to imply that his position is secure just because he remains on the roster now? It might well be premature. The Steelers did add a cornerback in free agency, and another two in the draft, with Senquez Golson also hoping to finally make the roster. That is a significant influx of new talent behind starters Artie Burns and Ross Cockrell, so—most likely—somebody has to not make the cut.

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