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 re-sign either B.J. Finney or Rashaad Coward to the 53-man roster after adding a player to the Reserve/Injured List.
Explanation: You need to keep a player on the initial 53-man roster in order for him to be eligible to be designated for return later in the season if you place him on the Reserve/Injured List. Stephon Tuitt, Marcus Allen, and Zach Banner all potentially could be candidates for that. The Steelers only kept eight offensive linemen.
While the Steelers have kept eight linemen before, in the past, it has usually been because of an unforeseen circumstance, like when David DeCastro was injured in the preseason in 2012, or the same for Maurkice Pouncey a few years later.
J.C. Hassenauer figures to be the team’s top backup at both guard positions and center, at least for the time being, whereas last year, they preferred to utilize the extra lineman helmet they were allowed to have Kevin Dotson serve as the backup guard, something Finney or Coward could do if re-signed.
And if the Steelers put a lineman on IR, when they already only have eight, it’s inevitable that they’ll have to re-sign another, with Coward the more likely as a tackle-capable player.
Ironically, the easy ability for teams to dress eight linemen also makes a ninth lineman less valuable to carry on the 53-man roster, because having three backups dress allows you to specialize more. And the key here is Joe Haeg with his flexibility.
While he’s worked exclusively at tackle, it seems, Haeg also has started at guard in the past, and he can also play center in a pinch to serve in that emergency role. He could potentially be the backup guard, with Hassenauer the backup center. Both Coward and Finney should be safe enough sitting on the practice squad. There’s a reason Coward didn’t even get a signing bonus.