The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Sean Davis will be a full-time starting safety with the Steelers in 2020.
Explanation: Davis has been a starter since his rookie season in 2016 as a second-round draft pick. He is now entering the finale season of his rookie contract as he hires Drew Rosenhaus as he agent. Meanwhile, the Steelers appear to be taking a close look at the safety draft class.
For one thing, the Steelers rarely let starters get away, and until notified otherwise, Sean Davis is one of the team’s two starting safeties. While they likely noted the inconsistencies in his play—and the lack of turnovers—I sense that the team is content with his first season starting at free safety.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t play out his rookie contract, but he could be re-signed as he heads into free agency next year, similar to Ramon Foster this year. And that will obviously depend a lot on his play this season. He could play his way into a huge contract, but I don’t think any outside observer is exactly anticipating that, even if he had three interceptions in 2017.
They also have to have somebody else to start, and right now, it’s not immediately obvious that they have or will have another option. Terrell Edmunds and Marcus Allen wouldn’t work unless Edmunds were moved to free safety, and the latter is still completely unproven. While they are looking at safeties, they also want to utilize three in their defense.
I think Davis is in a bit of a purgatory with the Steelers. He hasn’t played so well through his three years that they will necessarily want to commit to long-term starter money that he will be looking for on the open market. That makes it difficult to get an extension done this summer.
Once he hits free agency and people start paying wild prices for players, there’s no telling the odds of him returning. I don’t necessarily get the sense from him that he is determined to be a Steeler for life.