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Mike Adams playing time high enough to wonder if he was on display vs. Giants

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He played more snaps than anyone else in the game, but significantly more than the other back-up offensive linemen. Still, a quality performance may have moved him out of Trade Bail range.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Back-ups play the vast majority of the preseason. It's a means for coaches to evaluate them in the "stadium environment," a new buzzphrase for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

Steelers offensive tackle Mike Adams has had plenty of stadium environment experience, but as a back-up, it's understandable why he played as much as he did in Saturday's loss to the New York Giants. Still, it's attention-getting to see his 53 snaps as the highest for any player on either team.

Many will argue he needs the work. After a disastrous start to the 2013 season, Adams was benched in favor of Levi Brown, a tackle acquired by the Steelers from Arizona during their Week 5 bye. Brown didn't make it out of warmups before injuring his triceps, putting him out for the season. Kelvin Beachum assumed the left tackle spot and the team didn't look back.

Adams did get a start late in the year, a 34-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins (running his career record as the team's starting left tackle to 0-5, and 0-9 if you count the preseason). He played well against one of the better defensive lines in the game.

Other back-up linemen played a significant amount of snaps - Chris Hubbard replaced Ramon Foster and played 48 snaps, Guy Whimper, Cody Wallace and Bryant Browning played 44 snaps each - so it's not to suggest Adams was too far outside the norm. It's a wonder if he wasn't on display, however.

The thought of trading Adams would come before the thought of cutting him. While judging by the lack of depth the team has along its offensive line (Adams appeared to have played better than the rest did), the Steelers really couldn't afford to lose a veteran tackle with starting experience.

Last season, the Steelers and Eagles arranged a trade, with Philadelphia sending Felix Jones to Pittsburgh and the Steelers giving them outside linebacker Adrian Robinson. The Steelers kept the veteran Jones - a player likely to have been cut in Philadelphia anyway, - while the Eagles ended up cutting Robinson.

Such deals are made around the time of the first roster cuts, from 90 down to 75. If a team knows a player won't make their squad, they may want to bring in a player who might have a chance. Adams would be considered a bit more valuable than that, but if they can get something else while having a veteran tackle available they could sign (or if they feel comfortable enough to say Guy Whimper or Wesley Johnson can fill in as their swing tackle), maybe they'll swing a deal.

Adams played enough Saturday, and performed well enough in doing it, to think that isn't going to be an option. He's still very affordable, which may be the best trait he has going for him after a rocky camp.

The value of an experienced left tackle is enough to presume any of them in the NFL with starting experience will find a job somewhere eventually. One injury changes a team's plans with any player. That is enough to suggest Adams will make this team but if another veteran tackle becomes available, and Adams continues to show inconsistent performances in practice, they may want to consider making a move.