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: 2020 is Terrell Edmunds’ make-or-break season.
Explanation: A 2018 first-round pick, Edmunds is already a two-year starter, but he has not yet established himself as a talent that justifies long-term security. The Steelers will have to decide about his fifth-year option after the 2020 season, which would be fully guaranteed at signing, and is usually a great barometer for what the future holds for said player.
One thing you can’t say about Terrell Edmunds is that he hasn’t been available. Unlike some other players who might be described as late bloomers, the third-year man has been consistently healthy. I’m not sure if he’s even missed a single practice yet.
In other words, there isn’t that excuse to fall back on in terms of his lack of development, or at least slower-than-desired development. While the defense may have been good as a whole, Edmunds was perhaps its weakest link in the starting lineup.
If he doesn’t show some real growth and potential for more after the 2020 season, then it’s hard to commit to him at all beyond his rookie contract, because by year three, you know who about 95 percent of NFL players are going to be. Especially at a position like safety.
Edmunds is coming off a year in which he worked with three different starting free safeties. This is the first full season in which he’s preparing to work with Minkah Fitzpatrick—and he doesn’t even have a chance to actually get that work in with him this offseason because of the pandemic. There will be a lot of things about the 2020 season that will look cattywampus as a result and makes evaluation difficult.
One need only look at a guy like Bud Dupree as an example of a player who wasn’t able to truly show who he could be by the end of his third season. The Steelers still took the chance and picked up his option, but even if they don’t pick up Edmunds’, it doesn’t mean he can’t hit that next level in 2021 and justify a longer commitment.