Ok folks, there’s been quite a bit going on with the Steelers thus far this offseason. And I have to tell you, I’m quite surprised with the amount of activity already, aren’t you? Some of it is a little unsettling, but many of these moves get me excited – it means this team is hungry. Hungry for another championship. So in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what’s happened so far….
Jan 20th – Bruce Arians ‘retires’: The Steelers offensive coordinator is reported to have retired from the Steelers and football. This comes as a bit of a surprise as Tomlin stated that he wanted all his coaches back the next season.
Jan 25th – Chris Hoke retires: After 11 seasons with the Steelers, veteran backup defensive lineman Chris Hoke retires from football. After suffering a neck injury with subsequent surgery, Chris Hoke decides to leave the game with his head and body intact.
Jan 30th – Bruce Arians gets hired by the Colts: Well not entirely. He didn’t sign papers until a few days later, but the reports came out 10 days after retiring from the Steelers (and much speculation swirled about if it was voluntary or not) that Arians would become the next OC for the Colts
Jan 31st – Butler stays as LB coach: Keith Butler was expected to join the Colts as their next defensive coordinator and his old buddies from his Cleveland Brown days. However, when it seemed to be a dark hour for the Steelers, reports came out that the Steelers retained Butler for next season and more.
Feb 2nd – Rumors swirl of Haley: Right around this time rumors started swirling around like crazy that Todd Haley could become the new OC for the Steelers because Jim Caldwell quickly became out of the running (thank God).
Feb 4th – Dermontti Dawson makes it into HOF: Bettis is out and Dawson and Butler are in. Not much more to say here – Bettis is snubbed
Feb 6th – Haley new OC?: Reports begin to surface that the Steelers will hire Todd Haley as the next offensive coordinator
Feb 6th/7th – Haley officially announced: Steelers officially announce that Haley will be the Steelers new OC. Haley is a bit of a polarizing figure on the sidelines and some feel he will be troublesome on the sidelines with his abrasive personality.
Feb 8th – Steelers cut McFadden & Battle: Steelers begin the quest of getting under the cap for next season. They are over by an estimated $25 million. That starts with cutting Bryant McFadden and Arnaz Battle among a few other lower tiered players. This saves the team close to $3 million.
Feb 9th – Woodley and Timmons restructure: LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons agree to restructure their contracts. The Steelers save about $7 million by doing so.
Feb 10th – Taylor restructures: Ike Taylor joins the ranks of veterans with big contracts who have restructured their contracts. Taylor was just re-signed with a big pay day last season as the team’s #1 shut down corner. That saves the team another $4.25 million bringing their salary cap savings to $15 million thus far.
Feb 11th – Ward done?: Reports surfaced that the Steelers would not bring back Hines Ward next season. Ward writes on his Facebook page that this is news to him and that the team has not contacted him about such news. Ward wants to return a Steeler and has said numerous times that he is willing to restructure/take a pay cut to stay with the team. As of February 12th, it is still unclear what Ward’s fate will be.
Feb 11th – Khan stays: St. Louis Rams hired Falcons director of player personnel Les Snead as their new general manager. That means that Omar Khan is no long in the running for that position. He was to meet with the team, but no one has said if he even talked to them prior to the Rams snagging Snead.
So there you have it. Some really good news, some bad and some unsettling. As I said before, one thing is for certain – like these moves or not, it is crystal clear that the Steelers are willing to make the moves necessary to be Super Bowl contenders in a big way.