Here is what I think we should do...
Say goodybe to the following players....
5) David Johnson
Restructure Ben's contract, Woodley's and Timmons.
Try to get Harrison to sign a Hampton-like paycut and play 1 more year. He is still one of our best defensive players when healthy but he probably has 1 really good year left in him.
Do what you can to keep Clark and Polamalu for at least 1 more year. Clark probably has a year left. I don't see Polamalu "hanging on" to long when he recognizes his career is about over. I think he and the Steelers know that his playing days are winding down but not over. He will be 32 by the start of next season.
Try to get Ike to take a paycut.
If Harrison won't take a paycut... you cut him.
If Ike won't take a paycut... you cut him.
I would make every effort to sign Foster and Starks to a cap friendly deal. People think Max is old because he's been on this team forever. He JUST turned 31 and he was one of our most consistent offensive player (not just o-lineman). Who knows what Foster is asking for. Legursky is a very valuable backup especially at center... especially with Pouncey's ankle issues.
The Steelers can NOT sacrifice the future of this team by hanging onto players that have 1 or MAYBE 2 years left. That means, you cut Ike if it means signing Lewis.
While Foster and Starks have been consistent and (mostly) durable players, they may not fit the new blocking schemes that Bicknell will install...
If they don't fit, allow them to find a place elsewhere...
For financial reasons, they might sign Foster to a cap-friendly deal and let Starks walk. They invested high picks in both Gilbert and Adams. The Steelers obviously planned them to be starters and that could spell the end for Starks in Pittsburgh. Depth is a whole seperate issue. You don't draft a 2nd rounder (i.e. Gilberts/Adams) for depth. You also don't keep Starks for depth (to expensive and he's starter material).
I'm really hoping they draft a 1st or 2nd round ILB with intentions of him starting from day 1 to replace Foote. It's obvious replacing Foote was the Steelers plan last year when they all but said Hightower was going to be the pick but they couldn't pass on DD.
I could see ILB, S and WR as being the selection in the first three rounds (no particular order). I would like to see us replace Mike Wallace with DeAndre Hopkins from Clemson. I would also like to see us draft Kevin Minter to replace Larry Foote.
As far as safety goes... I like the kid from South Carolina.
Too many replies to single out anything individual!!
Here's a question- after cutting a number of Vet leaders last season, and then watching some undisciplined, sloppy play from the youngsters translate into an 8-8 season- can the Steelers really afford to cut Vet's like Harrison & Taylor without suffering another hit in leadership?
A little caveat to the whole pondering of Steeler woes-
Brett Keisel, when asked about James Harrison, said he thinks James will be back but something needs to be done about the contract. That's different from last season when guys were saying they 'hope' Farrior comes back.
Starting to lean towards Harrison will be returning, at a lower rate. What does that mean for Taylor?