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: Jayrone Elliott will knock Tuzar Skipper off the 53-man roster.
Explanation: In the middle of last week, the Steelers re-signed Jayrone Elliott, a veteran outside linebacker who spent a period of time over a number of transactions with the team a year ago, even getting some playing time. Of the reserves at the position, he now has the most experience.
Jayrone Elliott is Olasunkanmi Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper before they were who they are—which honestly still isn’t much. All three of them are former undrafted free agent edge defenders out of Toledo who performed well as rookies in the preseason and made their respective teams. Only Elliott went on to have some semblance of contributions.
Having been int the league since 2014, Elliott has 44 games of playing experience under his belt, including nearly 400 defensive snaps, about triple what Adeniyi and Skipper have combined. He has 62 tackles with four sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery to his name.
He’s also played nearly 800 snaps on special teams, including 68 with the Steelers last year. They brought him in too late last year to have a bigger impact, but he went through their system, and they signed him now because of the pre-existing familiarity.
If the Steelers really liked Elliott all that much, they wouldn’t only be getting around to signing him now. He’s been available for the entirety of the offseason. Instead, they sign him when training camp is almost over already. It’s not like he’s suddenly going to show a flash that they haven’t seen. He doesn’t even have the preseason to impress anybody.
The situation will be the same as last year: he’ll be on speed dial. This is just a chance to get him back into the system and make sure he’s familiarized with what they’re running, so in case they need him, he’ll be there and ready. He may even be retained on the practice squad. They do have six extra spots this year.