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 are prepared to keep Paxton Lynch on the 53-man roster for the remainder of the season.
Explanation: For the first time in recent memory, Pittsburgh deviated slightly from their philosophy of carrying three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, the byproduct of their opportunity to trade Joshua Dobbs. First Devlin Hodges was put on the practice squad; then after Ben Roethlisberger’s injury, Hodges was promoted and Lynch was signed to the practice squad. But after Mason Rudolph’s concussion, from which he is now cleared, Lynch was called up to the 53-man roster, returning the team to three quarterbacks on the 53 for the first time since Week One.
Not only are they prepared to do so, they are likely to do so, and have probably been scared out of ever flirting with the two-quarterback approach again in the near future after having two quarterbacks go down, which resulted in them starting a rookie undrafted free agent.
Let’s keep in mind that the Steelers once carried Zach Mettenberger on the 53-man roster all year as their number three, claiming him off waivers late in the preseason, after Bruce Gradkowski was injured. Lynch’s placement on the practice squad was a matter of circumstance.
And circumstances changed. For one thing, a permanent roster spot opened up after Fred Johnson was claimed off waivers. At this point, it’s likely that not only Lynch but Trey Edmunds as well will spend the remainder of the season on the 53-man roster, because there are no other moves that need to be made.
There might not be any more moves to be made imminently, but I think this season has proven that there are always unforeseen needs around the corner, forced upon you against your will. A roster spot likely will be needed again at some point this season, and when it is, Lynch will be at or near the top of the list again.
It’s possible that his tenure on the 53 could end as soon as the end of this week. Especially if T.J. Watt is unable to go for Monday’s game. At that point, they may add another outside linebacker to the 53-man roster—yes, possibly even signing Tuzar Skipper off of the New York Giants’ practice squad.