The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will a lineman who is not currently on the roster be a starter in 2020?
At least from one perspective, the Steelers over the course of the past two days just lost their LG1 and LG2. Ramon Foster, who has started there since 2013 on a full-time basis, announced his retirement after 11 years in Pittsburgh at the age of 34. His backup for the past four years, B.J. Finney, signed with the Seattle Seahawks in free agency yesterday on the strength of 12 career starts, including five at left guard.
This leaves open the obvious possibility that a player who is not currently with the organization could move into the starting lineup. Right now, Matt Feiler would be an obvious candidate to move from right tackle to left guard, where he started one game last season, but that would cause a chain reaction they may prefer to avoid.
It is not inconceivable that the Steelers could swing for a mid-level interior lineman who could compete to start, which may have as much to do with what they think about their alternatives at right tackle as it does anything else.
Equally, if not more likely, is the possibility of the team using one of their higher draft picks to select an interior lineman, who could start right away. The Steelers have not had a lineman who was scheduled to start in the season opener of their rookie season since David DeCastro in 2012—but then again, their line has been pretty stable for that long, as well.
It’s also possible that they could find a player capable of starting at tackle, of course, with Feiler still moving inside to guard. A lot of things could happen over the course of the next several weeks.