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: Wide receiver Ryan Switzer will be a part of the Steelers in 2020.
Explanation: Considering how little he ended up playing, not to mention the fact that he ended up landing on the Reserve/Injured List, it might be easy to overlook Ryan Switzer, who is entering his fourth season and remains under contract with the Steelers for 2020. He may have fallen down the depth chart, but he can still very much be in play for a roster spot.
Outside of the top three positions, obviously occupied by JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Diontae Johnson, the wide receiver position is wide open. Carrying over from last season are Johnny Holton, who was a special teamer, and Deon Cain, who was signed off the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad late in the year.
Also in the mix late were Tevin Jones, who was later released, and then Amarah Darboh, who replaced Jones but was not active for a game. It’s not hard to see where Switzer fits in. he would clearly be the number two slot guy, and nobody beyond the top three players should feel any kind of security about their roster spot.
Lest we forget, while Johnson took over the punt return job, Switzer was still the kick returner, and Kerrith Whyte will have an even harder time making the roster than Switzer, who was returning to practice by the end of the year.
Switzer had a role at the start of the 2019 season on offense. The way things currently stand, he won’t in 2020. And that means his role is much more variable, as is the number of wide receivers they will feel the need to keep. With Holton already a special teams slot, he’ll have a harder time sticking.
If it comes down to keeping a sixth receiver or a fourth running back, they can easily go with Whyte if they think he offers more in returns, and considering Switzer has been one of the worst kick returners in the NFL the past two years, while Whyte at least hinted at splash-play ability, there’s no way one can be high on Switzer’s chances of returning in 2020. It was already a mistake to keep him over Eli Rogers.