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 have secured quality safety depth for the next couple of seasons.
Explanation: Depth at safety was one of the biggest areas of concern heading into the offseason earlier this year. Over the course of the offseason, they appear to have managed to add some meaningful pieces to the puzzle. This is not a topic regarding the starters, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds.
Sean Davis failed to catch on as a starter in the open market, and even then, he only commanded a $4 million salary. Chances are he will not play much this year, so the odds of him getting much on the open market in 2021 are low, opening up the possibility that he can be retained relatively affordably beyond 2020.
While we haven’t seen him play in a Steelers uniform, Curtis Riley obviously impressed the coaches enough to convince then that he could be the top backup, before Davis became available. Though he is currently on the practice squad, he could also figure into the puzzle.
With Marcus Allen evidently finally showing some development and the future growth of Antoine Brooks, plus the versatility of Cameron Sutton and Mike Hilton, at least one of whom figures to return in 2021, should have Steelers fans feeling better about the position from top to bottom than they figured they would be able to back in March.
Riley was a starter two years ago. He wasn’t a starter last year because he didn’t play to a level that would merit it. He only started for the Giants because their alternatives were poor. The interceptions he reeled in were layups.
As for Davis, his future could play out one of two ways. Either he will show that Washington had good reason to release him in spite of the fact that they gave him a $2 million signing bonus, or he will earn another contract for a starting opportunity elsewhere under better circumstances in 2021, further removed from the injury that ended his previous season.
As for Allen, he is now working with the linebackers, and both he and Brooks are being pigeonholed as dimebackers, rather than as safeties. It doesn’t seem likely either of them would be someone you want starting.
Bottom line, there’s no reason this shouldn’t be a position the Steelers would want to draft within the first four or five rounds in April.