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: Terrell Edmunds will be the only 2018 NFL Draft pick by the Steelers who will still be with the team in 2022.
Explanation: While never ideal, it’s not uncommon for all or nearly all of one particular draft class to cycle through an organization after their rookie deals, including some who might leave for bigger contracts. The 2018 draft class for the Steelers had only produced on guaranteed starter to date, though could potentially produce more—which could potentially price them out of Pittsburgh.
I don’t think we can even guarantee that Terrell Edmunds himself will be here beyond this season, but it’s pretty much a given that second-round pick James Washington won’t be. He’ll be the number four in 2021, and there’s the possibility that JuJu Smith-Schuster signs long-term next offseason—as they continue to draft more wide receivers.
Chukwuma Okorafor started 16 games last season, but only as an injury replacement, and if he starts this year, he may price himself out of the Steelers’ market next season as they seek cheaper alternatives via the draft. Mason Rudolph’s contract will also be up, and they will be at least planning to draft a quarterback by then.
Joshua Frazier is already retired. Jaylen Samuels is an obvious pass. Arguably the player with the best chance of still being here is Marcus Allen as he looks to carve out a Jordan Dangerfield-sized niche for himself on special teams, but we’ve seen them make changes even here. Miles Killebrew and Antoine Brooks are some of the threats that he faces.
While the Steelers will undoubtedly be in preparations for drafting a quarterback by 2022, if they haven’t already drafted on, you still need more than one quarterback, and the odds of Rudolph earning a boatload of money for himself between now and then are low, so he should be back as a backup.
Washington should be gone, as they very rarely give second deals to wide receivers—one of the reasons they draft so many—but Okorafor has a chance to stick. It really depends on how the next year plays out.
Then there is Allen. While many will question its value, he played about 200 snaps on special teams last year in 14 games, which is a big deal. They are continuing to develop him as a linebacker and hybrid player, having logged over 200 defensive snaps as well. He also wants to be here. He should come back cheap a year from now.