After tumultuous offseason, Steelers need to recalibrate
By Alan Robinson
Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013, 11:32 p.m.
The Steelers played salary-cap roulette once again, furiously spinning their financial wheels by reworking contract after contract to get into NFL compliance. They watched Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis and Rashard Mendenhall walk away in free agency.
They don't have a certifiable go-to receiver or a feature running back. The secondary is aging. Their former ace pass rusher, James Harrison, might oppose Ben Roethlisberger twice every season. And there are so many lineup holes, they can't possibly fill them in the upcoming draft.
And Roethlisberger, in a flashback to his rookie season of nine years ago, might find himself regularly throwing to Plaxico Burress, one of the few experienced receivers still left on the roster.
Did a team that is universally considered to be one of the NFL's best-managed falter this offseason?
“They've had some difficult decisions, and people are getting caught up in all the action,” said NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes, a longtime NFL lineman. “But they're not looking just at this year even though I know Steelers fans don't want to hear it.”
Still, multiple draft analysts give the Steelers a grade of D-minus or F in free agency, where their only pickup of note was backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.
With so little coming in — although running back Ahmad Bradshaw remains an option — the Steelers might need the best draft of general manager Kevin Colbert's tenure to avoid taking a huge step back.
Asked if the Steelers are a worse team than they were when the season ended, Colbert said recently: “I think only time will tell. We'll see where that goes. ... We hope that we are a better team.”
Dukes said he believes they can't be faulted for letting Wallace walk for $60 million, or not paying Harrison, which he calls “a recalibration of a bad money year on a contract.
“I wouldn't say they're blowing the offseason,” Dukes said. “There are some organizations you question, but this would not be one of those organizations. They've got to get their house in order.”
The Steelers began last year to shed older players who command higher wages — such as James Farrior and Hines Ward and, now, Harrison — in favor of younger players who are more affordable and cap friendly.
It's a trend Dukes believes will continue.
“I don't look at what they're doing as a problem so much as it's a retooling,” he said.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- For Steelers defense, it’s all a matter of trust
- Long-overdue memorial to region’s World War II vets opens
- Jokinen takes center stage as fill-in for Pens’ Malkin
- Baldwin-Whitehall board hits ‘magical line of dissatisfaction’
- NHL notebook: Sabres goalie, LaFontaine talking
- Duquesne women’s basketball off to quick start in post McConnell-Serio era
- Charleroi rolls past Monessen
- Hurricanes storm back to top Sharks
- Fans of former conservative radio hosts Quinn, Tennent support toy drive
- Pitt slows down Loyola Marymount, 85-68
- Latrobe couple accused of using car trunk to end son’s fear of the dark