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: The Steelers should draft a kicker.
Explanation: The Steelers suddenly have a big question mark at kicker this offseason just one year removed from believing that they had a long-term answer. Chris Boswell went from being a Pro Bowler to nearly being cut in 2018 after missing 12 kicks, including seven of 20 field goal attempts. They have already vowed to give him competition this year.
This is an easy buy and also seems to be where the Steelers are heading, given that they have not added another kicker either through free agency or from among the many available in the AAF. Though they have signed six players who participated in the AAF, they did not bother to look at any of the kickers, even one who went perfect during his eight games, and he signed with the Chicago Bears—another team looking for an answer at kicker—yesterday.
The only other kicker on the roster right now is Matt McCrane, who kicked in the regular season finale, making all three of his attempts, including the game-winner. But he already lost out to Boswell in a mid-season competition. You’d like to have somebody else.
I haven’t closely examined this year’s kickers, but it’s easy to look up that there are at least a few who are considered draftable prospects, and the Steelers have a good number of late-round picks. Drafting a kicker probably gives them better odds of that player making the team than at most positions late in the draft.
There are two reasons that will not end up making sense to draft a kicker, the primary one being that, these days, teams are no longer shy about drafting them. if the best kicker goes off the board in the fourth round, that’s not a price that is worth paying unless it’s a sure thing, and I don’t consider Cole Tracy a sure thing, who is regarded as the top of the class.
The other, outside of finances, is the fact that Boswell deserves another chance, one can argue. He had three good seasons before having some misfortunes a year ago. He’s had an offseason (or will) to get things right, both in his head and in his mechanics. There is already McCrane to push him anyway. It’s not like he’s the only kicker on the roster.