Buy Or Sell: Steelers Will Carry A 5th Safety (And He’s Not Currently On The Roster)

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 will carry a fifth safeties (and he’s not currently on the roster.

Explanation: The Steelers seemed to show their hand about what they would like to do defensively when they carries six safeties on the roster to open the season a year ago. The dime became their most frequent package, and they even toyed with seven-DB looks. This year, they appear to have only four ‘solid’ current candidates to make the team at the position.


This is a two-part buy, so it’s a little trickier. Feel free to buy the first half but sell the second half if you so choose. It’s not like there’s anything at stake here so there’s no reason to be strict with the rules. But anyway, yes, the Steelers have already shown that they definitely want to have at least five safeties on the roster.

And no, none of the current safeties beyond the top four have really indicated that they could or should be that guy. The team is due for a preseason trade acquisition, and safety could be a likely target there, or they could get a player after cuts are made, as they’ve done in the past (Ross Cockrell is a recent example at cornerback). There’s also a safety coming out in the supplemental draft they could be interested in.


The Steelers aren’t going to have more than four safeties on the field at the same time, so it’s a false assumption to think that they need five safeties to play three for the dime or dollar packages. You can play those packages with four, and Mike Tomlin has even specifically talked about Marcus Allen fore the dimebacker role.

He has to go out and earn it, first, but there’s a good case to be made that he will, and that he’ll be given the opportunity to. Remember, this team likes him. They didn’t need him when they drafted him. They took him because he was that high on their board.

And let’s also not forget that Tomlin talked about the cornerbacks having safety versatility. Specifically Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton, but Brian Allen could move there too, assuming he even makes the roster. The odds of a fifth safety holding much relevance in 2019 are not favorable, so one shouldn’t be overly worried about it, nor expect the team to go out of their way to make sure they have one.

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