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2021 Offseason Questions: Is Trai Turner A One-Year Rental, Or Possibility For More?

Trai Turner

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?

These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.

Question: Will Trai Turner have a long-term future in Pittsburgh, or is he a one-year rental?

On the same day that David DeCastro was released, the Steelers agreed to terms with veteran Trai Turner to take his place. Replacing a multiple-time Pro Bowler with another seems reasonable enough, but now the question is this: How long will he be here?

Turner is reported to have signed just a one-year deal after he was released by the Chargers earlier this offseason in a cap-saving move while he recovered from a groin injury. Now at 100 percent, so he says, is this a prove-it deal on the way to another eight-figures-a-year contract, or could he re-sign with Pittsburgh next year?

He only just recently turned 28 years old, so there’s no reason to think that he can’t play at least another four or five years, which I think would easily satisfy the ‘long-term’ point of the question under these circumstances.

If Turner proves to be just a one-year rental, then, with DeCastro already gone, it raises an interesting question: Will they then be in the market for their next guard—or their next center? Because Kendrick Green could just as easily play guard in 2022 if necessary, if they find a better center that they like than a guard when they go looking. It’s an interesting little problem to have.

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