The last week has been a busy week for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was music to our ears when we heard that Jason Worilds will be back for another season. Then we found out that Heath Miller and Troy Polamalu will remain with the Steelers for more than likely the rest of their careers. With the good comes the bad, as 3 Steelers were cut. The most significant was Larry Foote. He is one of the veteran cuts we have seen the last couple years, and his career is more than likely over. We will miss ya Foote, but youth is on its way in. No one blinked an eye when they found out Curtis Brown was cut, and Levi Brown being cut frees up some needed cap space.
We were all hoping this would come. Jason Worilds will remain with the team for at least another season and probably for years to come, as there have been reports that Worilds and the Steelers are moving in on a long term deal. Another good sign is that Worilds signed his tag so quickly, stating he wants to be here in the ‘Burgh. This is a very smart move by the Steelers, as he will not command top linebacker money, yet he is looking like he can develop into one here soon. I think the Steelers learned from their mistake with Keenan Lewis last year. Knowing Worilds will be on the team next year brings speculation about Lamarr Woodley. Where will he play next season? It’s sounding like he takes a major pay cut or he is gone, and I would think that he will be a post June 1st cut. The Steelers will have a beast in Worilds and a young guy who has the looks of a beast still under his rookie contract in Jarvis Jones. There really is no room for Woodley’s contract, especially considering the Steelers have Cameron Heyward, Maurkcie Pouncey, and Cortez Allen with expiring contracts coming up soon. I have predicted this all offseason long – the Steelers already have Worilds locked down for next season, so Woodley will be gone once Worilds and the Steelers get a long term contract worked out.
Extending both mainstays Heath Miller and Troy Polamalu was also a move many people saw coming. It clears up some cap space needed to sign Jason Worilds and other free agents. It also locks up the tight end position for several years, while the Steelers are still in search for their next stud at tight end. Miller is coming into a full offseason, something he didn’t do last year because of a torn ACL, so expect him to be a big part of the offense once again right from the beginning. Troy Polamalu is a different story. Although he was extended, I don’t think he will be in the Steel Town all three years on that contract. The Steelers currently have their next strong safety in Shamarko Thomas and already had a top free agent safety in for a visit with former Lions safety, Delmas. They are looking for their next free safety to pair with Thomas. Polamalu will be in the black and yellow next season, but after that things can get a little shaky, especially if Thomas has a good sophomore season.
Will Allen was brought back by the Steelers. This tells me that the Steelers are going to wait another year before they find their next safety to pair with Thomas. The Steelers will have Polamalu, Thomas, Allen and Robert Golden on the roster next year, and really not much room for a young guy to get any playing time. I did speculate that the Steelers will take a safety in the third or fourth round, but with this contract extension, I am leaning towards a different direction. I am now looking to the 2015 draft and would say that’s where the Steelers find their next safety, either in the first or second round.
The Steelers cut three players on Wednesday, and don’t expect those to be the only ones. They cut Curtis Brown, Levi Brown, and Larry Foote. These three cuts have gone with everything I have said this offseason. First, we all knew Levi Brown was as good as gone. Too much money with three young talented tackles already on the roster. Curtis Brown never did a thing for the Steelers defensive-wise, and this leaves the Steelers a little thin at the cornerback spot. Although he never really played, he had been in the system for three years and wasn’t terrible for a fifth cornerback. Now that he is gone, along with Shamarko Thomas taking over Ryan Clarks spot, that leaves really only three cornerbacks on the roster with experience, and one of them could get cut. By cutting Curtis Brown, this tells me that the Steelers are serious about taking a cornerback early in the draft. I have speculated that Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State would be a perfect match for the Steelers, so good that the Steelers should move up to get him.
The last cut that was made was to Larry Foote and is probably the most significant. Larry Foote brought a veteran presence to the linebacking corps, but missed the entire season last year because of a torn bicep. In his absence, several young inside linebackers were thrown into the fire, and didn’t do too shabby. Obviously this move means that the Steelers are moving forward with their young inside linebackers (Vince Williams, Kion Wilson, Sean Spence). I would expect all to grow as players this coming offseason, and am personally interested to see the strides that Vince Williams makes, being he played the most and should be the starter going into camp. I am a huge supporter of young, drafted players, so I am rooting for Vince Williams to improve greatly.
More to Come
These moves are not the only ones coming this offseason. When it comes to extensions and free agency, look for both Al Woods and Ziggy Hood to be in the headlines soon to be resigned by the Steelers. Jason Worilds should get a pretty good extension within the next month. Jerricho Cotchery should come back pretty easily, and Ben Roethlisberger is waiting on that one. Also expect Fernando Velasco to be resigned, along with Cody Wallace. As far as roster cuts go, I am still waiting to read that Lamarr Woodley and Ike Taylor have been cut. Woodley to me is writing on the wall that he will be cut, and Taylor needs to take a pay cut, something I don’t think he will be willing to do. Later in the offseason, look for extensions to either Cameron Heyward or Cortez Allen. The Steelers have learned from their mistake with letting young talented players like Keenan Lewis test free agency, and waiting until the final year of their rookie contract to extend them like they did with Jason Worilds. Cameron Heyward and Cortez Allen are the future of this defense and need to be signed now before they become too expensive to bring back.
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