Steelers Offseason in 3 Parts
As a longtime Steeler fan and self-confessed draftnik, here's my three-part offseason plan for the Steelers, if I were GM. I will acknowledge being far more aggressive than the Steelers generally are, but I feel that two straight 8-8 seasons show two things:1) we're a team that still has a decent nucleus, and 2) there are some big changes to come to make the Steelers a SB contender in the near future (and before Big Ben gets too old). This first part talks about who we keep, and who we part ways with, and my decisions are made based on creating a younger team and getting our salary cap issues back in line, not only in 2014 but in future years, too. Some painful decisions are made.
So, for our FA's, this is who goes: R. Clark, S: good solid Steeler, but done; Z. Hood, DE: Not a great fit; J. Worilds, LB: will be too expensive to keep, and getting rid of Woodley this year is financially tough; E. Sanders, WR: big drops at bad times, replaceable.
FA's that could stay or go (1 year, no bonus, veteran minimum, may be cut in training camp as younger, cheaper players seem up to the task, or, aka "Guys we'd like to replace" or "More Training Camp Fodder"): S. Sylvester, LB; G. Whimper, OL; F. Jones, RB; D. Johnson, TE/FB; M. Palmer, TE; J. Westerman, LB; P. Burress, WR; J. Dwyer, RB; L. Stephens-Howling, RB.
So, for our FA's, this is who I keep: W. Allen, S: Does a good job when asked, smart, and makes some plays, too. Holds a spot while the young guys get ready to start; B. Keisel, DE: banged-up a lot and getting long in the tooth, but still plays at an acceptable level and a great team leader--one year, low-pay to stay contract; F. Velasco, C: stepped in and showed tremendous effort every play, but coming off injury; C. Wallace, C/G: stepped in and did okay, another scrapper; A. Woods, DL: I liked his play, and he's a load to handle one-on-one--maybe our answer at NT and move McLendon to DE more often; J. Cotchery, WR: just plain dependable, and can hold it down while young receivers (Wheaton, Moye, rookie) get the hang of it, will be cheaper to keep than Sanders, although he's better; M. McBriar, P: he's a punter,and can be replaced; G. Warren, LS: he's a LS, and can be replaced.
Part 2, cuts, trades, supplemental picks and free-agent shopping.
First, we make some cap room with cuts: L. Brown, OT: sorry Levi, easy cut, may bring you back for cheap; I. Taylor, CB: very hard cut to make, but there's not much left in the tank, and it's real money; T. Polamalu, S: toughest cut ever, but this team needs to move forward and cut costs--I'm really bummed on this one.
Re-structures: Hate this tool because the Steelers have over-used it and it puts us in salary cap purgatory every year, but I'm saving some this year and extending Big Ben because he will be a lifetime Steeler and QBs are expensive anyways (look around). I'm also extending Heath because he has always been slow and plodding but makes plays, and he became the old Heath again during the last quarter of the season (after coming off the injury in the early season).
Trades: M. Pouncey, C: hard to do, but he is 100% gone next year as a FA and extra picks in this year's deep draft are preferable to a #3 a year from now (in a much thinner draft). Couple this with his injury history, his seemingly Gangsta personality (Free Hernandez? Seriously?), and many's perception that he doesn't always give top effort (top talent not equaling top output--Pro Bowl picks aside), and I'll let Velasco, Wallace and a rookie battle and scrap for the job. Damaged goods = #3 and #6 rounders (with Tampa Bay), and we give them a #5 back in 2015 if he doesn't play at least 8 games. Value should be higher, but player trades seldom net you much.
Supplemental picks: #3 for Wallace and #5 for Lewis; other supplemental for Mendenhall, Legursky, Allen, Mundy (all of whom started some games) would be a #6 or #7, but Goodell will dock us that to make up for "SidelineGate".
FA Shopping: We have needs at number of D spots, and I'd look at CB, S & NT, but ultimately I think we might land N.Carroll, CB, from Miami. Nice size, fast, and still young, and he's showing signs of developing (3 picks in '13). Would be affordable after cap room is made. Replaces Ike--loved Ike but he'd need the ball to hit him between the numbers 25 times to get 3 picks in a year.
Next is part 3: the Draft
Part 3: the draft
#1(15) After seeing the Seahawks in the SB, I'm all about D, if possible. That said, an unexpected dropper at OT could also make the cut. I'm not a fan of the WR's (except for Watkins)--awful lot of first rounds WR busts around the league through the years, and I think there are good ones later. So, in my book it's Gilbert, Matthews, Robinson, or Dennard, but most if not all of them will be gone so I would trade back with SF for more picks in this deep draft. Based on trade value charts, SF could give us #1, #2, and #4 if they want that special player at 15.
So, my draft has a late #1, 2 #2's, 2 #3's, 2 #4's, 2#5's, 2 #6's and a #7.
#1 J. Verrett, CB: Small, but a play-making nickel-CB. With pass-happy league, a ball-hawking nickel CB is necessary.
#2 D. Lawrence, OLB: Big, long-armed, fast OLB. Will give us 3 legit OLBs (Jarvis will get it in year2) and the successor to Woodley.
#2 E. Reynolds, FS: Smart, fast, good size and a playmaker. Replaces W. Allen (replacing Clark) when he's ready.
#3 M. Moses, OT: Huge man with a large wingspan. Technique needs work, but when he sinks his hips he is really solid. Munchak coaches.
#3 B. Stork, C/G: Strong, big--Pouncey's replacement after Velasco/Wallace keep the seat warm
#4 R. Carrethers: Strong, squatty NT. Woods and Carrethers (and Fangupo?) are the future.
#4 C. Latimer, WR: Big, strong WR.
#5 C. Gilmore, TE: Slow and plodding like Heath, but a good blocker and receiver.
#5 I. Lewis, SS: Every DB for Michigan State was a playmaker--he's areal football player.
#6 B. Jackson, CB: Good size and speed that's played against good competition.
#6 S. Barrett, OLB: Big, strong pass-rushing OLB.
#7 E. Lora, WR: Small school slot receiver; next Welker, Amendola???
UDFAs: (Per usual, lots of local talent invited to the camp: T. Savage, QB; A. Norwell, OG; M. Feiler, OT; Z. Kerin, C; J. Perrillo, TE; R. Ag
new, FB; J. McKinnon, RB; C. Underwood, OLB; B. Gardner, DE; J. Legree, CB; D. Cook, S; G. Carson, ILB.
As a GM once said, in baseball hitting .333 is an All-Star; in football, hitting .200 on finding players is good, and .250is All-Star.
Originally Posted by SteelerMaine83
They won't trade Pouncey, although they probably should because no way we have the money to resign him when he will be asking Top 3 Center contract plus I think he would love to go back to Florida with his brother in Miami (got to love the sun and no state income tax).
I like your thinking....
I'm with you until the cut Troy sentence.
I'm all for getting younger and getting rid of players who don't perform but Troy is the exception.
He still flies around and makes plays and adds a spark to this defense.
If he would've played like a dog last year and missed a few games because of injury my opinion would definitely be different.
Also, I don't see the spectacularness(LOL) of Pouncey but he's still young and he'll be solid and ready.
I like Woods,Kiesel,Wallace,Cotch and Velasco.
Allen can start till someone else like Shark/rookie is ready.
We 100% need to sign a gem or two in free agency for depth at DB.
We need to reload because we don't have the luxury to rebuild while Ben is still on top of his game.
Nice read. One of the best posts I've read on here for quite some time...
and I am all for ditching pouncey if we can get a few pics for him...especially if he's gone next year anyways. One things' for sure, the FO will have to take more chances than usual...if they wish to get back a SB caliber of squad before Ben retires.
Thanks! Guess I've got too much time on my hands to think all this through, LOL!
Originally Posted by Ernie
But yeah, Pouncey will not be back after next year, so I see this as an opportunity for the Steelers to get a few picks and prepare for the future without him, but admittedly this would not be typical of the Steelers. Maybe that will make DeCastro feel a little better, too!
And the Steelers without Troy, pittpete, does make me sad.
I wouldn't be sad if Troy left.
It is what it is.
When Farrior and Ward were kept a year too long I was actually pissed.
I still believe though that Troy has another productive year in him.
The man can still play in this league.
I'm ok with getting younger and all, but I don't think you can get rid of guys like Worilds and Pouncey who are young solid players and expect to get better. You have to keep your young talented players.
If we get rid of these 2 youngsters after losing Wally and Lewis, that's becoming a recipe for disaster. We can't expect to ever get better if we keep allowing young talent to leave at that kind of rate.
Will we try to trade DD and Heyward next year for a couple mid round picks because they're getting too good and expensive for us?
IF the Fins really want to trade Dion Jordan would anyone trade Pouncey for him? Can he be 3 year ago Woodley good at OLB? To replace the questions at OLB? Just playing the WTF I mean what if game over here.