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: Stephon Tuitt will finally get national attention this season for his play.
Explanation: The Steelers have a number of high-profile defenders already, with Cameron Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, T.J. Watt, and perhaps to a lesser extent Joe Haden and Devin Bush fitting that profile. Based on performance, Tuitt would be the logical next member of that group, if only he could actually stay healthy long enough to show it.
If he’s going to play anything like he did in the first five games last season, then it seems like a foregone conclusion that he will finally get the attention he deserves. The Steelers’ defense is in the spotlight right now, and attention breeds upon itself, so the collective focus will also lead to others being recognized. This is why we see so many players from great regular season teams get swept into the Pro Bowl.
Tuitt is at the peak of his career right now, and is playing in the best defense he ever has, and perhaps ever will. He has every bit as much raw, physical talent as Heyward does, and the two of them together this season will probably be featured together in promo packages for primetime games.
Right or wrong, a big part of getting into the national spotlight is doing it big when you’re on the national stage, and that means in primetime games, or in the postseason. Only a quarter of the Steelers’ regular season games are in primetime this year, so a bit of luck would have to be involved for him to have a big game on the right night.
And there is such a thing as oversaturation. The Steelers already have Heyward, who isn’t even that much of a household name, at least not in comparison to Watt, and perhaps Fitzpatrick already. Bush’s draft status and position will elevate him as well. Tuitt is still ‘the other defensive end’.
Plus, there’s the whole matter of whether or not he can stay healthy, and if he can play at the same level after another significant injury.