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 re-signed by the Steelers next offseason.
Explanation: After the Steelers opted not to pick up the former first-round safety’s fifth-year option, he says that head coach Mike Tomlin told him that doesn’t mean they’re closing the door on him, and that they could still work something out contract-wise to keep him with the team.
I predicted last year that the changes to the fifth-year option that came with the new CBA would result in fewer of them being picked up. The change in the pay scale was not a factor for Edmunds, but making the fifth-year salary fully guaranteed, rather than only guaranteed for injury, upon activation was probably a major deterrent.
In every other year prior to this, teams had the opportunity to pick up a player’s fifth-year option and release them prior to the start of the new league year of their fifth season if they decided that it was not in their best interests to keep him at that salary. Now you don’t have that flexibility.
But you can still sign a guy, and I do think this will lead to more first-round picks signing earlier extensions despite not having their options picked up. Edmunds is a textbook ‘solid starter’ who might not necessarily be worth the option amount. He is an ascending player who is a good pair for Minkah Fitzpatrick, so they’ll find a way.
While it’s true that fifth-year options are now guaranteed when exercised, and that it might be a bit more discouraging, the Steelers have not been the sort of team to make their decisions that way. They would either believe the player was worth the amount or not. Artie Burns and Jarvis Jones weren’t. They decided Bud Dupree was, at a time that many didn’t.
If they saw Edmunds as part of their long-term plans, they still would have picked up the option, knowing all along that he wouldn’t play under that amount. It would be inevitable that they would work out a long-term deal that would be more in-line with his value. Tomlin may have said otherwise, but it’s not at all a good sign for Edmunds that he’ll stick around when they decided not to pick up his option. He’ll be playing in another uniform—and starting—in 2022.