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 not be looking to add any veterans to the roster at all before they see their 90 men in training camp.
Explanation: While the Steelers do have a strong starting lineup, it’s hard to ignore the fact that their depth was hit at several positions during the offseason. And they only had limited cap space in free agency, and limited draft picks, to fill those holes. There are still areas of weakness in terms of proven depth or at which there is pedigree as we sit here today.
This has been standard practice for some time now. The Steelers very rarely add anybody of note between May and July. About the most significant one I can recall recently was a reserve safety who didn’t even report to training camp, or something like that.
Really, Kevin Colbert even said as much that this was their plan. They prefer to get a look at what they have first to see what areas that they have to address, and then, to their credit, they do. In recent years, they have added Joe Haden, Zach Banner, Vance McDonald, Ryan Switzer, J.J. Wilcox, and others to the roster during the month of August.
Last year, of course, they even made some in-season trades, though in both cases they were driven by injury as much as anything else.
The Steelers have also since the draft acknowledged that they would be open to the market if it made sense, and sometimes they’ve even volunteered that idea, like when Tomlin was asked about the quarterback position yesterday.
They also know that they don’t have a definite ‘starting’ nose tackle on the roster, and no matter how much they downplay the position’s function in today’s game, it’s still 300-some-odd snaps a year, which is about twice as much as a fullback plays. All of their backup safeties and inside and outside linebackers have very limited experience, or very limited recent experience. If something makes sense, they will make a move when the move is available to be made. In other words, they will be looking, even if something doesn’t come up that works for them.