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: John Simon will be on the 53-man roster before the Steelers’ next game.
Explanation: With T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith both nursing injuries, the Steelers signed recently-cut veteran outside linebacker John Simon to their practice squad, which in the age of veterans on the practice squad is often a pretext to being promoted to the 53-man roster.
While it’s certainly possible that both Watt and Highsmith are able to dress and play in the next game, they’re probably not going to be that close to 100 percent. Taco Charlton is okay enough, considering the alternatives, for a number three, but Derrek Tuszka can obviously be improved upon, and Simon has been doing this for a long time.
Playing for the Titans this season, Simon spent the past three years with the New England Patriots, so you would hope that he at least has a sense of assignment discipline, which is something the Steelers have been lacking.
Then there’s the fact that head coach Mike Tomlin said they would “not be bashful” about turning over stones, including in terms of personnel, to find answers to their problems. Montravius Adams was signed and quickly dressed and played a lot. Simon is a lot more experienced and ready to go.
We’ve been down this road already with Karl Joseph, who was supposed to have a short stint on the practice squad before being promoted to the 53-man roster. The reality is that Simon was signed for depth, and it doesn’t hurt that he has information about their upcoming opponent, the Titans.
The only way that Simons dresses is as a practice squad elevation because either Watt or Highsmith isn’t healthy enough for them to feel comfortable in his ability to go the distance for the game. That would technically be as a 54th or 55th man.
The Titans have already waived Simon multiple times this year since first signing him just ahead of the start of training camp. He’s only played in two games for them for 38 snaps, and has been available for other teams to sign quite a bit. He’s a workmanlike edge who is past his prime and isn’t going to offer much of a pass rush.