The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: What are the odds of the Steelers retaining Chris Hubbard?
By and large, when we have talked about the Steelers’ pending free agents and gotten to the name of Chris Hubbard, we have taken it as a foregone conclusion that he would be signing with another team in 2018.
At the moment, I have no compelling reason to believe that that isn’t the most likely scenario by a good distance. But I also can’t deny that we have oversold the value of free agents in the past, or undersold players’ willingness to stay put, for one reason or another, and one might wonder if both could be in play.
In fairness to Hubbard, his case is stronger than most other cases I might name, such as Robert Golden, who had a four-game stint in the starting lineup prior to hitting unrestricted free agency. He ended up re-signing for less than what most of us here expected.
Ramon Foster is a player who has, frankly, repeatedly re-signed for what I feel he may have been able to get elsewhere. He has talked about the importance of playing for an organization like the Steelers and, during his last round of negotiations, having a position coach like Mike Munchak.
Well, Munchak is also Hubbard’s position coach, and you can bet he deserves an awful lot of credit for helping to turn him into the player he has become since coming out of UAB as an undrafted free agent in 2013.
Is there a small chance that Hubbard will take a semi-reasonable offer from Pittsburgh to stay put? An equally important question has to be, can the Steelers even afford to extend him a semi-reasonable offer, especially if they intend to re-sign Le’Veon Bell?
I think there’s no question that there’s a lot of love in the locker room and in the front office for Hubbard. I also think they believe he deserves a chance to start somewhere and might not want to stand in his way. But they would also hate to lose him, as likely as it seems.
Yet, speaking of Foster, who is 32 and in the final year of his contract, it’s clear that the end of the line is likely near for him. Hubbard has the ability to play inside. That is something to consider as well. Could he end up starting at left guard, even in a year or two?