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: Could Vince Williams lose his starting role to Jon Bostic and Tyler Matakevich?
We have already seen the Steelers give third-year inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich a good run with the starters during the opening week of OTAs. Bostic will of course be given his opportunity in time as well. But what are the odds of seeing Matakevich and Bostic on the field together with the first-team defense?
In other words, is the starting buck linebacker role up for grabs? I don’t have any inside information on this topic, nor am I of the belief that Williams needs to be replaced in that role. It’s just a possibility that occurred to me and that I wanted to put out there.
So let’s consider the possibility. After the Steelers went through the draft without taking a linebacker, General Manager Kevin Colbert told reporters that they were excited about the players that they had in Bostic and Matakevich, two guys that they feel they don’t really know yet what they’ll be able to bring to the table.
Bostic is coming off a good season with the Colts last year, where his particular strengths were against the run and in communication. The team knows they didn’t get a good look at Matakevich because of his shoulder injury. They’re getting their first looks at them this year as potential starters.
So what if that goes really well? Are we seeing a three-way competition for two jobs? Could Williams end up as a backup or as a rotational or even situational linebacker? It’s not like he’s being paid a salary you would balk at if he wasn’t starting. He has a $2 million base salary, less than what Arthur Moats made last year.
Williams picked up 89 tackles with a very impressive eight sacks and his first NFL interception last season in his first year as a full-time starter, though that only came in a little over 700 snaps, since he got substituted out for an extra defensive back relatively often.