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: There will be no workouts until at least training camp due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Explanation: Pretty much all of US sports is in wait and see mode, the NFL being no different. Even their free agency period has been affected, as players are unable to travel, which introduces a greater deal of risk. As of now, offseason activities are suspended indefinitely, to be further assessed later on down the line, but given the projected growth of the coronavirus in the US, whether or not teams will even be able to get in a late minicamp, or some kind of delayed schedule, seems up in the air at best.
I’m writing this every day because it’s important that we stay informed. As of right now, the United States has more active cases of the coronavirus than anywhere in the world, surpassing Italy over the past two days—by a significant amount. While Italy has still had more cases overall, they have nearly 10,000 recovered. They have about 57,000 active cases, while the US has 67,000, and the vast majority have come within the past week.
Experts say that we will still not hit the peak of the curve for another few weeks, at least, and that could be delayed in other parts of the country. The draft is already irreversibly changed at this point, and it’s hard to see the landscape being dramatically different just a few weeks later.
Even if things are not dramatically different by the middle of May, as other leagues have shown, schedules can be adjusted. We are in unprecedented terrain, and unprecedented solutions can be found within that territory.
Don’t be surprised if we do see a short OTA period that may take place on a later timeline, with a limited window between then and the opening of training camp, which is about a month afterwards under normal circumstances.
Should the spread prove to be more severe, it’s possible that the league could consider shifting its entire schedule, pushing the season back some time in order to accommodate the evolving situation. The MLB, NBA, and NHL have all halted their seasons, but intend to resume play at a later date. At least for the latter two, they still intend to complete their full schedule, though the MLB would have a more difficult task in that regard.