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 should just accept ‘reality’ and finally enter a ‘rebuild’ phase rather than a ‘reload’ phase.
Explanation: At least among the most vocal of fans, there has become a resignation to the belief that the Steelers in their current formation are incapable of contending for a Super Bowl title, and that starts with finding another quarterback. Letting go of expensive aging veterans would help them generate resources to add pieces for the future.
I think that most people at least gave Ben Roethlisberger the benefit of the doubt this year. He was coming off of major elbow surgery to address a chronic issue that had affected him for years. If he could come back and play at a high level, then we can talk.
While some of his numbers are good—he had 33 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions—the inefficiency of his play was really obvious when watching him. This team might have talent, but the essential ingredient of any championship team is a championship quarterback, and they currently don’t have that.
Letting Roethlisberger and others like Maurkice Pouncey go isn’t going to help them in 2021 or maybe even 2022 or 2023, but there are more long-term priorities at work. It’s the way almost every other team functions, after all.
There is a false perception out there that the Steelers front office doesn’t pay any heed to concerns of future years when they do business, this theory cited most often when it comes to the topic of restructuring contracts.
This is not actually true, but at the same time, it is their priority to field a competitive team every year. I think that is valuable in and of itself, but this is also a team that is still capable of competing for a Super Bowl with Roethlisberger.
It’s just a matter of supplementing him. Put a better run game around him and with a better offensive line coach and perhaps a run game coordinator and suddenly we’re having a different conversation, with less weight on Roethlisberger’s shoulders.