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 released veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief before Week 10 in order to preserve their projected 2020 compensatory draft pick for the free agent loss of Le’Veon Bell.
Explanation: The compensatory pick formula remains somewhat mystical, but with new case studies every year, we learn more and more about how it works. We know enough that when the Philadelphia Eagles released L.J. Fort, whom they signed in free agency, it likely cancelled out the third-round compensatory pick they would have gotten for Bell, since they would have gained as many free agents who qualified as they lost. To qualify, a player has to remain on the roster through Week 10 at least, even if he was released and re-signed in between. The Steelers could regain the compensatory pick by releasing one of the qualifying free agents that they signed, and the obvious candidate there would be Moncrief.
This one is too easy of a yes. I already wrote about it yesterday, so you know where my thoughts lie. The fact that Moncrief has only dressed since Week Three when there have been a significant number of injuries—and even then, not playing much—shows just how little they actually value him at this current time.
They also know that they still have some time on their hands before they have to make a decision, though. For example, if they have a season-ending injury or something like they and are short on wide receivers, that could be the variable.
For all we know, Moncrief will be running with the starters this week. Everybody knows that he has had a finger injury since early in training camp. They put him out there to begin with, but he was dropping passes. He’s had time to heal that finger now.
Given the fact that nobody else is really stepping up at wide receiver, and the need to give their young quarterbacks as much help as they can get, having a veteran such as Moncrief is still valuable.
Most importantly, the Steelers are not a team who thinks about the future at the expense of the present. If they think they can use Moncrief now, they will not release him simply to make sure that they will have another draft pick.