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Key decisions which can shape the 2019 Steelers, Part 2: Marcus Gilbert

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have some big decisions coming up which can shape the 2019 team.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Jacksonville at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, and most recently the Antonio Brown saga has been the headline for any website covering the NFL. While fans of the black-and-gold are engulfed in Brown news and rumors, there are still some extremely important aspects of the team which should be discussed.

Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and company have some tough decisions to make this offseason, and not just decisions on the fringe players trimming the roster from 90 to 53, but decisions which could really change the landscape of the team in the near future.

This will be a series breaking down each decision at a time, and the next player on the list is someone who has spent more time on the sidelines the past two years than on the field: Marcus Gilbert

Player: Marcus Gilbert

Issue: Can’t stay on the field

Reason to Stay: When available, which hasn’t been often the past few seasons, Gilbert is one of the better right tackles in the NFL. He is great at both run blocking and pass blocking, something not every tackle can say they are able to do well. His experience, and cohesiveness with the offensive line would be a great reason to have him return for 2019.

Reason to Leave: As mentioned before, Gilbert simply hasn’t been able to stay on the field the past few seasons. Whether it was a knee injury, or a suspension, Gilbert has watched more than he has played over the course of the 2017 and 2018 season. Combine that with an inflated contract owing him $6,643,500 this year, and a dead cap hit of only $1,728,500 if released and you can see how the Steelers can view him as expendable. Matt Feiler stepped up in a big way, and the team has Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor and Jerald Hawkins all ready to battle for the spot as the right anchor if the position becomes available.

Predicted Outcome: I always felt Gilbert was one of the most underrated members of the Steelers’ offensive line, and it has been tough watching him battle injuries the past few years. To me, it makes too much sense for the Steelers to keep him around when they can actually save some money by releasing him. Some have mentioned a trade scenario, but who is going to want to sign a player who has already been suspended, and has been injury prone in recent years? The answer? Not many. I wouldn’t be stunned if the Steelers decided to let him play out his contract before becoming a free agent, but the players are in place to get younger at the position, and that is an avenue I would travel.

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What do you think will happen with Gilbert? Will he the Steelers keep him? Is he trade fodder? Or will he be cut outright? Let us know in the comment section!

Other parts of this series:

Part 1: Chris Boswell