With the offseason starting up for the Pittsburgh Steelers, a number of players will likely be lost to free agency. While quite a few aren’t vitally important to the team, and are likely to be let go, William Gay shouldn’t be one of them.
William Gay is not a superstar. He has had his fair share of mistakes throughout the years, and he’s struggled at times against some of the more dominant wide receivers in the league.
Primarily a slot corner, Gay hasn’t been accustomed to playing against the top receivers for teams, but honestly has transitioned fairly well. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, William Gay was the only cornerback this year not to allow a single touchdown. Now that’s pretty impressive.
Now, one thing that may hold Pittsburgh back from re-signing him is his age. He’s 31 years old, and he’s not getting any younger. Hopefully, the Steelers address the secondary in either free agency, the draft, or potentially both. By doing that, the Steelers could possibly exchange Gay for younger players, as they continue their youth revolution on defense.
The issue with that is transitioning. A team cannot simply throw a ton of young players on the field, and expect them to compete with the best veterans in the league. William Gay is the only player on the Steelers that could be the #1 cornerback for the team, period.
It’s possible that the Steelers will let Antwon Blake go, and it’s tough to imagine Brandon Boykin has any desire to return to the Steel City, so if they allowed Gay to walk too, that would leave a decent, but kind of unreliable Ross Cockrell, and last year’s second round pick Senquez Golson, who hasn’t had a snap in the NFL yet.
I think it’s safe to say that could make things worse, and with how the secondary has looked, worse is not an option.
Time and time again, the Steelers have expressed their interest in splash plays, turnovers, and how important they are to the game of football. I don’t know if I’ve ever watched a player with more splash play capability than William Gay.
I know his play is the most important factor, but William Gay may add more life to this team than any other player on the roster. He is a momentum shifter, and his dance moves just can’t be duplicated. If the Steelers lose Will Gay, who will crawl to Joey Porter on his knees after a pick six? No one.
Again, William Gay is no superstar. But he’s a veteran, he’s a playmaker, and he could very well be a vital piece in the rebuilding of a secondary in total shambles.
The Steelers simply must allow him to play while they develop younger players to eventually take his place. He can be the player that truly helps shift the course of this defense, as a leader, and as a player capable of doing his job.
Re-signing William Gay may be one of the more important decisions made this offseason.