Believe it or not, there are many fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers who feel the team is officially rebuilding. Or “Rebuild Mode” as the kids are calling it these days, I think. Anyways, if this were the case, I have a recommendation for the black-and-gold:
Don’t worry about giving Ben Roethlisberger a new contract.
Reports are stating the Steelers and their franchise quarterback are due to ink a new deal as soon as possible, likely before the new league year begins, and this shows a team who is doing the opposite of rebuilding — they are trying to re-stock.
With the departure of both Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, and likely a few other players via free agency, it is natural to take a glass-half-empty approach to the upcoming season and seasons to come. Nonetheless, if the Steelers truly were in a rebuilding phase, it would be foolish to extend Roethlisberger’s current contract.
Yes, this would likely mean the end of an era if this were to take place, but what is the use of keeping Roethlisberger around if you are planning on gutting the system and starting over? This wouldn’t be smart business, and the good news is this isn’t happening.
Let’s just take a look at the team to realize a rebuild not only isn’t necessary, but also isn’t happening:
- Outside of the right tackle position, the Steelers return their entire offensive line in 2019, and beyond.
- The running back tandem of Jaylen Samuels and James Conner seems to be a lethal 1-2 punch heading into 2019.
- Other than the hole left by Brown, the position the Steelers draft the best, the team will rely on Roethlisberger to do what he has done so many other times in his career — turn a good unit into a great one.
- The defensive front, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave and Cameron Heyward, is one of the best 3-4 units in football when everyone is health.
- Although thin at OLB, T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree accounted for 18.5 sacks last season...a number which certainly will rise.
- The safeties will have a year under their belt, and even though some transition may occur with Morgan Burnett, they seem to be poised for a step forward in 2019.
- There is a hole opposite Joe Haden at cornerback, but the hope is the team can find an answer for that position this offseason.
- Inside linebacker is the glaring need on the defense, and will have to be identified in free agency, the NFL Draft, or both.
The point here is the Steelers aren’t rebuilding.
Did they lose a lot of talent in Bell and Brown? There is no doubt they did; however, it isn’t to suggest the Steelers won’t be successful without them. The Steelers offense might look different in 2019, but different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
Randy Fichtner’s group might be more run-oriented, with a heightened focus on balance between run and pass, and with this offensive line there shouldn’t be much complaining if this is the direction the team wants to take next season.
Different, not necessarily bad.
If you are someone who believes the Steelers have lost too much, have too many gaping holes to fill to actually compete for a Super Bowl championship, then you also should be hoping the team doesn’t give Roethlisberger a new contract. Instead, let him play out the final year of his contract and see what you have in Mason Rudolph and/or Joshua Dobbs.
The Steelers will give Roethlisberger an extension on his current contract. I would be comfortable betting a large sum of money they do just that before the start of the new league year. But don’t misconstrue this move for blind faith in No. 7. This is a move based on the team still being able to win, even without Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.
As a Steelers fan, you should know this team doesn’t rebuild, they re-stock, and this offseason will be absolutely crucial for the short-term success of this team moving forward. Miss out on key free agents, fail to bring in a serious draft haul and the outlook on this team will dramatically change.
But don’t think they have hit ‘Rebuild Mode’ status just yet.