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 NFL Draft should be permanently expanded to 10 rounds.
Explanation: It was reported yesterday that, given the uncertain circumstances we are facing, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert propositioned the league about expanding the 2020 NFL Draft to 10 rounds, instead of seven, with each team receiving three additional draft picks. Many view this as a good idea. Why not have it that way all the time?
If it makes logical sense to do it now, then it makes logical sense under normal circumstances, as well. Most of the back half of the draft is largely a crapshoot in terms of what you’re going to get, anyway. This way, you don’t have to negotiate with players that you want to bring in, because you have the ability to draft them—assuming another team doesn’t draft them first.
Even with the expanded draft, of course, there will still be college free agency. This process will only add fewer than 100 draft picks, while multiple hundreds of players sign with teams as college free agents. Some teams may sign over a dozen players, even two dozen in some cases, on their own in any given year. But this process makes the priority free agent process more equitable.
There are many reasons that this is not a great idea. For players, they like the option of picking their team this late in the process, because they know they have to pick a team that actually gives them an opportunity to succeed. As for the teams, it’s three more contracts paid at a higher rate that you have to accommodate. And if you’re a team in need, it greatly cuts down on the number of priority free agents you’re likely to land.
The reason it could make sense for this season is because of the circumstances. The college free agent signing process will be chaotic enough as it is with everybody trying to do business from their own homes, and the limitations of the pre-draft process come into play as well.