With only wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery unsigned among their key personnel on offense, the Steelers likely will concentrate on retooling a declining defense during the offseason.
Still, Ben Roethlisberger probably can't help but wonder what this 20th-ranked offense, for all of its second-half improvement, might look like if he had another elite receiver to throw to besides Antonio Brown.
Clemson's Sammy Watkins could be such a receiver — the Steelers don't care that he's 6-foot and not 6-3 — and the only question might be whether he slides to No. 15, where they choose in the first round May 8.
If he doesn't, Marqise Lee, who had 20 touchdown catches in three seasons at Southern Cal, probably will be there. Again, the Steelers wouldn't care that he's 5-11 1⁄2, given their success with not-tall receivers.
With all of their starters back, the Steelers probably wouldn't go for an offensive lineman on the first round — unless another David DeCastro should somehow slide their way.
Any free agents the cap-challenged Steelers sign are likely to be low risks who don't make a ton of money but could prove versatile and valuable, like Fernando Velasco did while starting most of the season at center.
And by next season, look for coordinator Todd Haley to find even more ways to get running back Le'Veon Bell involved and for tight end Heath Miller to be a more integral part of the passing game from Week 1 on now that he's fully healthy.
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.