I have over the course of the past several seasons turned to a series of articles around this time of year in which I looked to explore the issues and questions facing the Pittsburgh Steelers during the upcoming season and trying to identify the range of possibilities in which any given scenario can end.
I started out with a dual series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take and switched last season to the Devil’s Advocate series. In an attempt to find a more streamlined solution with a title more suited to the actual endeavor, we are introducing a simple Buy Or Sell segment exploring whether the position statement is likely to be worth investing in as an idea.
The range of topics will be wide, from the specific to the general, exploring broad long-term possibilities to the immediate future of particular players. I will make an argument for why a concept should be bought into as well as one that can be sold, and you can share your thoughts on which is the more compelling case while offering your own.
Topic Statement: Somebody other than Jon Bostic will start alongside Vince Williams to open the regular season.
It’s basically Bostic or the field here, and the field could get pretty wide. A lot of the discussion right now is centered around the recent release by the Philadelphia Eagles of veteran inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks, whom they have previously tried to trade.
Now that he is on the open market, Steelers fans are hoping that the Steelers go after him, and given the fact that Bostic didn’t even open OTAs as a starter, I don’t think his presence would be a hindrance to getting a deal done. If anything it would be the salary cap, of course.
Even if the team doesn’t go after Kendricks, it looks as though they are going to be giving Tyler Matakevich a legitimate opportunity to compete for the starting job. As the ‘veteran’ on the team (with the Steelers, that is), he was even afforded the first snaps with the starters at the mack linebacker position. Bostic’s starting job is by no means a given.
Whether or not Bostic is guaranteed to start as we stand here in May, it is the most likely scenario based on everything that we know right now. That Matakevich was the first between the two to take snaps with the first-team defense at the start of OTAs means little right now. It’s not at all uncommon for the depth chart to look a little wonky at this time of year with draft picks and cheaper free agent signings.
Kendricks? Yeah, what are the odds of that happening? The notion of the Steelers chasing after him doesn’t fit their profile. Even last year, they had cap space and they waited until training camp to see what their roster needed. Kendricks is not going to be available in August. Bostic will be the most qualified player on the roster for the position come September.