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 retain Ray Sherman as wide receivers coach.
Explanation: Last week, after announcing the hiring of Matt Canada as quarterbacks coach, owner Art Rooney II said that the team would firm up any further coaching changes this week in time for some significant dates of the offseason calendar. Sherman was hired as wide receivers coach in the middle of training camp last year after Darryl Drake suddenly passed away. He was only there on an invitational basis and had already been out of coaching for a while.
You don’t want to have four different wide receivers coaches in four years. That is what they would have if they don’t retain Sherman this year. During JuJu Smith-Schuster’s rookie season, they had Richard Mann, who retired after that year. Then they hired Drake, who was his coach during his breakout season in 2018, making the Pro Bowl.
Of course, Drake wasn’t there to coach him this past year during the regular season, with Sherman taking things over. He was hired largely out of the desire to retain some continuity, since he had already been observing and pitching in here and there.
Now 68 years old, he’s obviously not going to be coaching for a decade or anything like that, but there’s no reason to think he can’t continue to coach. Presumably, he is under contract, and I think if he was going to retire, he would have done so by now.
The Steelers could simply be behind schedule. The past couple years, when they have allowed coaches’ contracts to expire, it would come usually about a week or so into January. It could be different if Sherman is under contract, however, and they decide to hire somebody else.
It’s entirely possible that he is still mulling his future himself, though. The season has only been over for a few weeks at this point, and it’s been a whirlwind few months for him. He had no idea nor expectations that he would be coaching again, yet here he finds himself. Is this where he wants to be?