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: At least two players who are currently not on the 80-man roster will be on the opening-day 53-man roster.
Explanation: While the Steelers have some positions with some depth, such as the defensive line, there are others that could clearly stand to have an upgrade, and the secondary is certainly the biggest example of that.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that at least one defensive back, if not two, will be added to the 53-man roster from the outside before the regular season begins, which is a couple of weeks from now.
With Antoine Brooks Jr. out of the picture, and Tre Norwood starting to work in the slot, the depth at safety is a major question. Justin Layne is not your ideal number four cornerback, either. In general, they could use somebody in the slot.
Add in Marcus Allen’s injury, and you could have an addition at inside linebacker. Another possibility is at center. Both B.J. Finney and Rashaad Coward played over J.C. Hassenauer to start last night’s game, and frankly, Coward has not looked very good.
The Steelers are as likely to be sellers as they are buyers. We could very well see them trade a quarterback, a defensive lineman, a long snapper, or a punter, for example. And they rarely do player-for-player trades. I’m not sure when the last one might have been, but perhaps it was Adrian Robinson for Felix Jones in 2013.
Aside from that, Pittsburgh has already given away most of its day-three picks via trade. They’ve already added a starting lineman, a starting inside linebacker, and a strong third outside linebacker since late June.