I gotta address this topic because I’ve seen it casually mentioned so many times. And I understand that it’s going to be asked because it’s the offseason…and February is super boring. But everytime I get asked or see it talked about, I cringe. Nails on the chalkboard. So let’s get it out there. Marcus Gilbert isn’t going anywhere. Nor should he be.
Those who suggest cutting or trading Gilbert in order to keep Hubbard are just wrong.
It’s Chris Hubbard who is going to hit free agency. And that’s not a good thing if you’re a Steelers’ fan, to be clear. We all know the value Hubbard brought this year. He played well. Really well. But he’s not on the level of Gilbert and will never be.
That’s just reality.
It starts with size. Hubbard is one of the smallest tackles in the league and it gets him into trouble. He can be overpowered in the run and pass game and as we’ve written about, the Steelers used more jump sets to try and compensate. When Gilbert was healthy and not suspended, he was his usual, excellent self, and ranked higher than Hubbard by those who live and breathe offensive line.
I compare this Hubbard/Gilbert “debate” with what happened among Steelers’ Nation in 2015. Cody Wallace filled in for Maurkice Pouncey. Wallace was praised for his old-school mentality and by the end of the year, many suggested if it was worth keeping Pouncey around. Too many questions about health. Too much money. Pretty much identical arguments to today.
Logic prevailed in the Steelers’ front office, though I’m positive there wasn’t even a hint of a discussion about the future of the position. Wallace started only one more game in his career and hasn’t played since 2016 while Pouncey has returned as a fixture among the offensive line and one of the best centers in the game.
Dumping Gilbert would be disasterous. He’s a top five right tackle. Hubbard is a serviceable starter. It’s just another example of a common fallacy, recency bias, and even more, a product of low expectations the fanbase had for Hubbard in the first place.
I’m rooting for Hubbard to have success. I think he will. But it shouldn’t – and won’t – come at Gilbert’s expense. That’s just silly.