“The Steelers have to…”
We’ve all heard it before. Whether it be in conversations with friends, discussions at the local watering hole, endless posts on social media, or reports from various news sources, everyone chips in a narrative of things they believe the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to do. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s what we do as fans.
So why is it a problem? Is coming up with plans to improve the greatest franchise in professional sports an issue? Really, it isn’t. But when people hear enough other people saying certain things, they start to believe that it’s what the Steelers have to do.
But that is not the case at all.
Just because a lot of reporters, Steelers “experts,” fans, or people who just like to share their opinions have a general consensus on certain items does not mean that it is something the Steelers are even remotely considering. Yes, sometimes we can get information from reliable sources which is something the Steelers are looking to do. Other times, a narrative arises which simply doesn’t hold any traction within the walls of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
Keeping this in mind, here are three moves many Steelers fans think are definitely going to happen with the 2022 Steelers, but may not be the case. It doesn’t mean these things still might not be exactly what the Steelers want to do, but it may also be something which is strictly a fan narrative and not that of the team.
1. Adding a different starter at quarterback
When Kevin Colbert stated the obvious how the Steelers will be adding more quarterbacks to the roster, in no way did he say they are going out to make an upgrade of the only player under contract. The Steelers obviously have to add more quarterbacks because they don’t have enough to fill out the roster. But many fans are operating under the impression the team’s starting quarterback for 2022 will be coming either via free agency or the NFL Draft.
While this could be true, it doesn’t have to be true.
I know there are plenty of fans under the impression the Steelers have to find their next guy this season. I’ve even heard some people continually spout off that not addressing the quarterback situation would be “wasting a year of T.J. Watt career.” But if the Steelers roll with Mason Rudolph for 2022, it’s likely they’re not going to invest another year in him unless he gives the production which eliminates all doubt. Some may look at this as wasting a year, it’s not the wrong thing to do if the right quarterback isn’t available this year. To steal an analogy from Bryan Anthony Davis, if you go to the store to buy filet mignon and all they have is liver, do you settle for the liver or do you come back to buy what you actually need when it’s available? If this is not the right year to reasonably upgrade quarterback, forcing the issue could end up wasting three years of T.J. Watt’s career by having the wrong guy and investing the time to find out that he’s not going to cut it.
Yes, the Steelers could make a splash and get another quarterback. I’m not even going to mention any names, but they could add a player who would become the front runner to be the starter. Or they could not. But just because many of the fans think this is a position the Steelers have to address this year does not mean the Steelers are going to rush into it.
2. Releasing players to save cap space
It has been widely reported how the Steelers could save close to $13 million on the 2022 salary cap by releasing two players in Joe Schobert and Zach Banner. This information has been shared so much most fans think it is a foregone conclusion these players will not be on the roster for 2022.
Once again, while this could be the case it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the case.
Kevin Colbert has already talked about looking at what Banner can do this year after he is hopefully fully recovered from his knee injury which cost him the 2020 season. And the Steelers haven’t given any indication they are going to release Joe Schobert, who is still under contract with the Steelers for another three years. The Steelers could very well move on from each player. The Steelers could keep both players at their current contracts. The Steelers could also re-work things with either of these players. But coming to the conclusion they’re already gone for salary cap reasons is premature.
I’m not saying it would be the wrong decision, I’m just saying it might not be the Steelers’ decision.
3. Bringing in a new center
So many Steeler fans want to move Kendrick Green to guard. It didn’t help when Ben Roethlisberger mentioned the subject when he was asked about it in a radio interview. But just because the team’s former quarterback makes the statement doesn’t mean it is what the Steelers have in mind.
For the third time, while it is something that could happen, it doesn’t mean that it will happen.
As most fans realize, the only way Kendrick Green is moving to guard is if the Steelers have another center. Some may even think J.C. Hassenauer could be the guy, I don’t think that’s what most fans have in mind. Whether the Steelers add a center in free agency or the draft is anybody’s guess. If they do, and believe it is an upgrade to the position, great! If they don’t, then it means the Steelers really see something in Green they think they can develop.
While many of the national media are on the hype train for the Steelers taking a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, a number of local media and fans are all on the Tyler Linderbaum train. The center from Iowa looks to be the best the draft has to offer by far at the position. For this reason, many feel if he’s there the Steelers have to take him.
I’m not falling for that again.
I was convinced the Steelers could be so sold on Creed Humphrey in 2021 that they would even use a first-round draft pick if they believed in him. As it turns out, the Steelers had other plans and didn’t even take Humphrey when he was available in round two. Just because the fans think Linderbaum looks great in black and gold since his previous uniform had almost a perfect resemblance, it does not mean that the Steelers would pull the trigger on Linderbaum in the draft.
Like so many players in the past who Steelers fans have given up on way too early, Kendrick Green could likely fall into that category. Or he may not. Perhaps he’s not the guy to hold the job going forward. But right now, his days being over as the Steelers center is merely a fan and media narrative and not one supported by the actions of the Steelers…yet.
So there are three items I have heard all kinds of discussion about throughout Steelers Nation which may actually have no traction with the team. Yes, all three of these could be exactly what the Steelers do. But maybe not.
The bottom line is the Steelers always manage to put together a decent team regardless of what all the armchair GM’s think they should do. As many people hear ideas which fall in line with their own, they get a false sense of security that it is something the Steelers must do. In reality, the Steelers are going to do what the Steelers are going to do. We, the fans, need to sit back and enjoy the ride regardless if it lines up with what we thought would happen.