What do yinz predict?
Here's my rundown:
1. Troy - No backup ready to step in. He's still our best defender. He seemed to be getting healthy at the end of the season and some turnovers started happening. He frees up Timmons to attack in the box. No way he doesn't stay.
2. Harrison - He's one of the 3 star players on this team. He has no backup ready to go. We can't afford to lose him yet.
3. Clark - Playing at high level. No backup. He stays.
4. Keisel - He's playing fine, but he's got a #1 draft pick sitting behind him on the bench. I'd hate to lose him, but of all the older players, he's the one with a guy waiting in the wings to break into the lineup. I'm not convinced Heyward or Hood are as good as Keisel, but they're more ready backups than anywhere else.
5. Foote - No backup and still productive. He'll remain.
6. Hampton - He has no viable backup on the roster. Try to cut his salary and keep him as a 2 down player for 1 more year? His play is declining. But he was still better than any other option by a large margin. The D started out slow, but got better as the season progressed and Hampton got back into form after injury. I'm 50/50 on Hampton, could be convinced either way.
7. Ike - He's a great athlete and still as good as he's ever been. Given his conditioning, I think Ike's got several more years in him. But he's got a viable backup in Cortez who I believe is ready to play on the outside opposite Keenan. You can always use a 3rd corner and I don't think we have a #3 CB that's ready. No reason to cut Ike, but we could if needed. Plus Ike's the model example for a guy that works out hard in the offseason and the Steelers should reward that.
Could it be possible that Keisel is the only casualty? Possible Casey? Maybe throw in Ike if we need the extra cap room?