The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
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 are more likely to be buyers than sellers at the trade deadline.
Explanation: While it’s not likely that the Steelers will be making any trades at all, on the off chance that they do, it is fair to discuss whether or not they would be more likely to be looking at acquisitions or listening to offers for their own resources.
Buying, of course. While not at the trade deadline, they acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick and Nick Vannett in-season via trade in 2019. Last year, they did go close to the deadline to trade for inside linebacker Avery Williamson. There is a very recent and very tangible precedent for the Steelers being in-season buyers, even if that was not traditionally the case in the past, more so than there is for being sellers, Joshua Dobbs notwithstanding.
After all, does this look like a loaded roster to you? Don’t you think they could use, say, a new offensive lineman, or a slot receiver? Would anybody mistake the 2021 Steelers as a team that can afford to give away resources, as if they have such enviable depth? Fat chance. This is a team that needs players.
Speaking of resources, the Steelers don’t have the resources to be buyers in the trade market. They’ve already moved some of their most likely bargaining chips in the form of future draft picks, even giving up a fifth-round pick for cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, which is increasingly looking like a mistake, and a sixth for linebacker Joe Schobert.
They may not have a deep history of being in-season sellers, but they don’t sell a lot in general, only when there’s an offer. They weren’t going to move Dobbs until they got good value for him. We already know that they are listening to calls about Melvin Ingram.
With the starters healthy and Taco Charlton on the practice squad, they’re move likely to move the former Pro Bowler to a pass-rush-needy contender for the right price than they are to be able to trade for someone. And they may well be looking to replenish some of their draft capital anyway.