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 re-sign safety Jordan Dangerfield.
Explanation: Somewhat on and off, Jordan Dangerfield has been with the Steelers for what is frankly coming close to a decade. He has been on the 53-man roster for the past three seasons, and has four accrued seasons altogether. The depth at safety is thin after losing Sean Davis, and Dangerfield is a core special teamer.
It’s quite possible that the Steelers have been keeping it from Danny Smith that Jordan Dangerfield is not currently on the 53-man roster. It’s actually unclear why he’s not. He wouldn’t be expensive to sign, and they need safeties.
Behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds, literally all they have right now at the position is Antoine Brooks Jr., a second-year, sixth-round pick whom Kevin Colbert described as half a linebacker, and John Battle, a former undrafted free agent from the practice squad.
While Dangerfield hasn’t played much on defense in recent years, he has in the past, and would be part of the depth chart. He’s also such an important part of what they do on special teams — and he’s also good on it, in contrast to some other high-volume players — that it wouldn’t make much sense to part with such an affordable player.
The Steelers brought in Karl Joseph for a free agent visit earlier this offseason. While they didn’t sign him — he ended up returning to the Raiders, who originally drafted him — it shows that they are looking to go in a different direction at safety.
With Brooks at one backup position, they also need somebody who profiles better as capable of playing free safety. Dangerfield is more of a box defender. It is a virtual certainty that they will attempt to exhaust most other avenues of addressing the position before calling upon him again.
Would their intention be otherwise, he would have been brought back a while ago. There would be no reason for the delay. At the very least, they’ll try to add a draft pick here. And they do have Miles Killebrew, who has safety experience. Even if they appear to be treating him as a linebacker.