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 (and perhaps should) re-sign Tyler Matakevich.
Explanation: There is a fairly good chance that a player of Matakevich’s caliber when it comes to special teams is going to fetch something more than a veteran-minimum qualifying offer in free agency. There are, after all, still some teams who invest in this area of the game, and benefit from it. He is a tackling machine in this phase and has been consistently available and reliable, in an offseason during which they will have other significant special teams losses.
The Steelers already lost L.J. Fort and Darrius Heyward-Bey in 2019. They can’t afford to lose both Anthony Chickillo (whose release feels inevitable) and Tyler Matakevich in back-to-back years. those are four of your very most important special teams player, and if you keep chipping away at your core players on this unit, it’s going to show up on tape.
For as much as people already complain about the Steelers’ return units, imagine how much worse they can be if you completely ignore the few players who take their jobs on special teams seriously and also execute them at a high level.
Special teams is a part of the roster that naturally results in a lot of turnover, and is inevitably populated by a number of rookies. Likely, the Steelers will get at least two or three prominent special teams contributors from their rookie draft class.
And they have already gotten snap totals and production on special teams from the inside linebacker position. Ulysees Gilbert III and Robert Spillane right now both look likely to make the 53-man roster, and both, combined, should more than make up for the loss of Matakevich rather than paying perhaps $1.5-2 million per year for a player they’ve already determined cannot play on defense. They should also be getting Roosevelt Nix back after missing most of last season, which will be a boost to their special teams units.