Buy Or Sell: Steelers Should Bring Back Avery Williamson

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 should bring back Avery Williamson for depth following Vince Williams’ retirement.

Explanation: Avery Williamson’s name immediately resurfaced after it was announced on Wednesday that Vince Williams would be retiring. Williamson, a starter for most of his career, was acquired at the trade deadline last year for depth after the Steelers dealt with injuries. He ended up recording over 50 tackles in seven games. He has been unsigned throughout the offseason.


The only reason people weren’t expecting the Steelers to re-sign Avery Williamson in the first place was because they thought he would be out of their price range. But he’s still on the street and there doesn’t appear to be any obvious market for him. That strongly indicates that he should be a cheap signing, possibly even for the veteran minimum.

Devin Bush is coming back from a torn ACL, and Robert Spillane doesn’t even have a year’s worth of starting experience. The depth behind them is very untested, including a couple of safeties, a rookie, and a sixth-round pick who has been on IR three times in two years with a recurring back injury.

Bottom line, if you can sign Williamson, you do it. You’re not doing your due diligence if you don’t.


The Steelers should at least see what they have before they worry about a move like this. Buddy Johnson is a very intriguing prospect who can very well be the number three inside linebacker this year. Or it could be Ulysees Gilbert III, whom, frankly, many people have been waiting for an opportunity to see. You don’t want Williamson to cost somebody like Gilbert their roster spot.

There’s also the simple fact that being available late in the process doesn’t mean you come cheap. The Steelers and their fans should already know this. They just gave Melvin Ingram $4 million a few days ago to sign. Williamson won’t cost that. But if he were willing to sign a veteran minimum deal, he would have already done that. He’s obviously waiting for an opportunity.

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