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 sign a veteran blocking tight end before the 2021 NFL Draft.
Explanation: With the retirement of Vance McDonald, and the start reality that Eric Ebron will never be much of a blocker, the Steelers could use a reliable number two tight end, somebody like street free agent and former Steeler Jesse James, who would help take some of the pressure off the position before the draft.
Where possible, the Steelers always try to address every hole on their roster in some form or fashion with a veteran addition, usually on the cheap, before they get to the draft. There are some exceptions, of course; it does happen where they almost paint themselves into a corner with a need.
But generally, when it’s easy enough to do, they get it done. And finding a veteran tight end who can block for cheap should be pretty easy. Jesse James is just the most obvious and ready example for Steelers fans, but there are others.
And just look at what they have been doing lately. In recent days and weeks, they have signed a running back, an offensive lineman, and a linebacker/safety all for qualifying contracts that barely move the salary cap needle. There’s no reason they can’t find a tight end to add to the pile.
Technically speaking, they probably could do it—of course it’s possible. But can and will aren’t the same thing, and there’s no reason for them to jump on somebody now when they could wait until after the draft and see what they have before making a decision.
There will be veteran tight ends still on the market after the draft that they could pick up if they assess their roster again at that point and find that they are still wanting at this position. It’s already now April and they’re deep into their draft plans, constantly on the road at Pro Days.