Two of the biggest needs looked at this year are adding a corner and adding a WR. Wallace and Lewis walked out the door last year with nothing but a comp pick in return. The Steelers FO is generally very good, but allowing assets to leave for no compensation will prevent the team from moving forward. With Lewis, I get that he matured late and that his departure may well have been unavoidable.
I'm expecting the Steelers to add a CB in FA. "Level" of player depends on Ike. I felt pretty good that Ike would take a cut to stay but not so sure that will happen anymore. They haven't contacted Ike as of yet & that would suggest to me they are looking for a starter level CB. That's just my gut feeling. I don't think this will be a typical offseason of FA for the Steelers. They recognize what is on the table. If you get back to back 8-8 seasons...You have to change personnel in decline. I don't want to hear "not how the Steelers operate" or "Ike is like a Son to Rooney"...It's business. Right now...Ike is bad business.
Not sure that they will win a bidding war for Verner, but maybe his ties to Lake (from UCLA) and Munchak (from TN) sway him towards the Steelers. I'm always hesitant to rely too heavily on FA, but he is a young player who should have his best football in front of him.
If the Steelers had depth at CB...They could go into the season "hoping" a draft pick would win the starting CB spot at some point in '14. They need infusion immediately...Can't put that on a draft choice. There is no "support" for a CB learning on the fly. They will need to sign a starter capable guy.
It would be pretty irresponsible of the decision makers to go into the season with Allen, Taylor, Gay, & a draft choice. That draft choice would include a Dennard or Gilbert. One injury away from trouble. There is no guarantee Gilbert or Dennard start their 1st year. If Taylor remains with a paycut & continues his decline like last year...He may fall to the bottom of the depth chart. So we would have Allen & Gay starting with a CB who should have retired & a rookie who isn't ready to be a #3. I wouldn't feel comfortable with that thought process & I'm not even the one who pays the bills.
The Steelers better have 2 new faces in the secondary at the start of the season or they will struggle out of the gate. Coming off back to back 8-8 season...You better not struggle early. Here's an overview of the Top 3 things on Rooney list when he sat down with Cobert & Tomlin. #1...Back to back 8-8. #2 Missed playoffs 2 years in a row. #3 Empty seats in the stadium. I'm sure the Rooneys said "We have to correct this immediately...What do you need to get it done?" These guys have been doing this for awhile. When they look at the roster...I'm sure they understand the draft won't fix it overnight.