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: Maurkice Pouncey will retire before the start of the new league year.
Explanation: The first piece in the Steelers’ concerted effort to rebuild the offensive line as a first-round pick in 2010, Maurkice Pouncey has had a long and decorated career over the past 11 seasons, but there have been reports and speculation that he will be retiring rather than play into his age-32 season.
The key for me is the fact that president Art Rooney II already alluded to the fact that the team had heard from one other player about possibly retiring after Vance McDonald had done so, but that he would wait for that player to make an announcement.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has since made it very clear that he intends to continue to play, so he wasn’t referring to him. Pouncey is the only other player who has been connected to any retirement rumors.
And the reality is that he knows the writing is on the wall. The offensive line, even the coaching staff, keeps turning over. His own play has been in the decline for the past couple of seasons. He’s made his money over multiple contract extensions. All he had left was a Super Bowl, and they fell short.
It’s quite possible that Pouncey intended to retire. But Roethlisberger wouldn’t let him. I fully believe that the quarterback would be able to persuade him to put in one more year so that they could make one last effort to get that trophy and then go out together, as they talked about doing for years.
A lot of players are a puddle of emotions after a season ends, whether positively or negatively, but especially in negative fashion, and that was certainly the case for Pouncey and the Steelers this past season.
And while he’s made his money, he still has $8 million on the table, which is always tough to walk away from. Plus, perhaps, like the other linemen, he likes Adrian Klemm and wants to see what he can do to turn the offensive line around. Ramon Foster already voiced his strong support.