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: After failing to address the outside linebacker position in the draft, the Steelers will re-sign Arthur Moats.
The case is easy to make if you’re on the buy side. The Steelers carried five outside linebackers on the roster for most of last season. Now they only have three. The other candidates are a seventh-round pick coming off a shoulder injury in Keion Adams, a practice squad player in Farrington Huguenin, and a rookie undrafted free agent in Olasunkanmi Adeniyi. None of those are homeruns. Or even sure bets to make the team.
When Arthur Moats took a visit with the Atlanta Falcons, ESPN reported that the Steelers were leaving the door open for his return to Pittsburgh. And what has happened since then? James Harrison retired and they added Adeniyi. And they picked up Bud Dupree’s fifth-year option.
In other words, if they were open to it then, they are still open to it now. If re-signed, of course, he wouldn’t be guaranteed a roster spot, and if he makes the roster, he could be where Harrison was for most of last year. But he did see work on special teams, and he is capable of contributing on defense. On a per-rush basis, he has actually been more effective than anybody else currently on the roster in generating pressure.
But the Steelers are in the process of reshaping what they are asking their outside linebackers to do, which includes a lot of dropping into coverage, which is not a strong part of Moats’ game. A reunion from that perspective wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
The potential that he will remain available is also in their back pocket. Pittsburgh likely would hope to try to move on from Moats, but if they find that they don’t have a sufficient solution to even the fourth player on the depth chart, then they may come calling sometime in August as a last resort.
The fact of the matter is that we are at best talking about an emergency situation. Anthony Chickillo will absorb virtually all the snaps that T.J. Watt and Dupree don’t take, barring injury.