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 waive Henry Mondeaux when Chris Wormley is ready to return to the 53-man roster.
Explanation: The Steelers have not in recent memory carried seven defensive linemen on the 53-man roster for an extended period of time. They did for one week this year when Mondeaux was promoted, but Wormley was injured in the same game. Mondeaux acknowledged that his promotion was largely based on special teams, and he has logged over 50 percent of all special teams snaps over the past month, but other special teams players have since gotten healthy.
The Steelers had both Mike Hilton and Derek Watt, a pair of special teams players (Hilton has been playing more on special teams this year) when Mondeaux was promoted to the 53-man roster. Both are either back or on their way back, and they have other options like Trey Edmunds and Jayrone Elliott on the roster who play more conventional positions for special teams purposes. It’s interesting to have a lineman running down kicks, but it’s not necessarily ideal, either.
Equally important is the fact that the Steelers have been able to get a look at Carlos Davis over the past two games, and they have found that he can play. When Wormley gets back, he will dress as the fourth lineman, so they will still have to choose between Davis and Isaiah Buggs for who dresses as a fifth. They did not dress six in the game in which they had seven linemen on the roster.
While they could release a lineman when Wormley gets back, it won’t necessarily be Mondeaux. It could just as easily be Buggs or Davis. The former was inactive for the game Mondeaux was called up for. Davis is still a rookie, and a seventh-round pick at that. He played some, but he is still on the bottom of the depth chart.
Or they could keep all seven of them, because they have some other areas of the roster to go to. Edmunds as a fifth running back and Elliott as a fifth outside linebacker are obvious possibilities. Edmunds has bounced around a lot in his career, as has Elliott. Whenever Kevin Dotson gets back, we could see Derwin Gray back to the practice squad as well.