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: Chris Wormley will still be with the Steelers in 2021.
Explanation: It’s not enough merely to say that Chris Wormley is in the Steelers’ plans beyond the 2020 season. The fact that they gave up a fifth-round pick for him, paying him over $3 million to be a rotational defensive end for one season, says that alone. It’s one thing to acquire a guy with the intention of keeping him beyond his contract, and another in actually getting that done.
The conversation does start with the simple fact that the Steelers made the decision to make this move in the first place, and they did so out of the desire to improve the team. This was not an act of desperation like the fifth-round pick for Nick Vannett in the middle of last season. This happened in March (or maybe even February when it was first mentioned?).
Wormley is not going to be a long-term starter anywhere he goes. He doesn’t have that kind of talent as a pass rusher. He’s not going to have a big market. He should be in the same ballpark as Tyson Alualu, and there’s a good chance this is Alualu’s last year, at least at his current salary.
It also doesn’t hurt that Wormley was a Steelers fan before he ever got here. The Steelers needed some valuable depth along the defensive line, and he provides that. They’ve been playing against him for years, so they know what they’re getting.
While the parallels aren’t perfect, the Nick Vannett situation goes to show you that plans don’t always work out. Vannett is also a guy that they had on their radar for years, and desperation got them to finally pull the trigger. Then the season played out, and neither side really seemed overly interested in retaining relations.
There’s always the possibility that something better comes along. The Steelers signed Eric Ebron, for example, before Vannett finally signed elsewhere. Or maybe Wormley simply won’t be a good fit. That’s always a possibility. It’s not often that Ravens easily integrate into the Steelers’ locker room, or vice versa.