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.