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 make a trade for a player during the preseason who will make the team.
Explanation: The Steelers, for whatever reason, have become one of the top teams to make moves during the preseason with respect to acquiring talent via trade, though they have also traded some players away. It’s become almost a yearly phenomenon.
Given the frequency with which the Steelers have come to make trades at this time of year, it seems a sure bet. Felix Jones was traded for and made the team in 2013. In 2015, it was Brandon Boykin. Justin Gilbert arrived in 2016, then Vance McDonald and J.J. Wilcox in 2017. Last year, Ryan Switzer made some of the most significant contributions of all players acquired via August trades.
The obvious target for a potential trade this year would be at tight end, and they have already attempted to add one off the waiver wire, which indicates that they are not content to sit still if they have the opportunity to make a meaningful addition. Depending on how things go, the specialist positions could be another target for a trade.
But the bottom line is that the Steelers have found a comfort in getting a look at their roster in training camp before passing a final judgement and seeing where they can bolster a weak area of the roster.
When it comes to trades, however, Pittsburgh tends to be more hesitant overall than most to pull the trigger, because they don’t subscribe to a standard trade value chart. They simply decided whether or not what they’re giving up is worth what they’re getting instead of letting a piece of paper tell them.
The fact that they’ve already given up a third-round pick next year is something that will discourage them from being loose with the picks as well, so if anything happens, it would have to involve a pick swap the way that many of their recent picks have.
As it concerns tight end, however, I still believe the team is more comfortable with the group than anybody else is for them. They’ve worked with Xavier Grimble for four years already and know who he is, and there has been some positivity regarding Zach Gentry as well. They’ve gone into a season with less.