I'm not sure if the FO believes that we are still "Contenders" this year... or are in a "rebuilding mode"..
I hear a lot of talk on here about the Steelers being in a rebuilding mode... but the off season moves send mixed signals.
First of all.. I think we made mistakes by letting Keenan Lewis and Will Allen go. I think we would get as much production this year out of that combination as we would Troy and Ike. Keeping Allen (and letting Troy go) would allow us to have a solid starter for the next few years at that position (for much less money than Troy), while drafting a safety (to be groomed for that position). Troy is likely going to be out half the year with injuries anyways... and we have no proven backups at the position at this time.
It's my understanding that we have a pile of money tied up into Ike also. Ike's a solid corner, but his best years are behind him.. Keenan Lewis is just coming into his prime, and could have been signed to a long term deal for less money.
If the FO would have played their cards right... we wouldn't have had to be in a rebuilding mode at all...but a "Reloading mode". Simply stated, you let Troy and Ike go.. maybe trade them if there is still a demand for their services elsewhere... maybe get some quality draft picks for them..
You keep Sanders, Allen, Lewis., Max Starks.. Sign the McClain kid from Oakland who just signed with Baltimore for $700K... and you are once again contenders in the AFC. With these moves you don't put added pressure for Rookies to start on day 1.. and have quality starters who can get the job done while getting draft picks valuable experience to add depth and possibly take over as starters the next few years.