Too often, we (the fans) call the front office out for some of the personnel decisions. Sometimes, it is justified, but more often then not, the front office knows exactly what they are doing. I decided to compile the most frequently debated moves in the last 8 years...forgive me if I forget any big ones.
1) Resigning Alan FANeca. Faneca was a big fan favorite and let's face it, the Steelers were devoid of an interior lineman of his caliber until drafting Pouncey. However, after watching him play in another team's jersey, it became apparent that his skills had diminished. It was the right decision. +1 front office
2) 2007 Draft. Woodley, Timmons, Spaeth, Sepulveda, and Gay. Woodley has his ups and downs. He is typically a slow starter, and plays at a high level midseason. The problem is that he tends to get hurt. Timmons has been solid. He plays at a high level, but is often unappreciated. Spaeth left, became a better player, and has since returned, but has yet to play in the regular season. Sepulveda was a decent punter, but was hurt too much, and probably drafted too early. Gay was an absolute steal in the 5th round. Although, early in his career, Gay was a target for fan hate. The fan criticism of this draft is the players that could have been drafted instead (Revis, for example), and taking a Punter in the 4th. Overall, I think this was a solid draft. +1 Front Office.
Roethlisberger. With all of the offseason troubles, many fans wanted the star QB traded. Kudos for not doing this repeating the era after Bradshaw. Front office +1
2008 Draft. This continues to be a nightmare. Mendenhall, Sweed, Bruce Davis, Tony Hills, Ryan Mundy. The fans hated the Bruce Davis and Tony Hills pick right away. Davis never looked good and Hills had injury concerns way back in high school. Mundy developed into a nice sub, but burned his bridge with fans last season when he had a few costly penalties. Sweed initially looked good, caught a few passes, and delivered a big hit against the Ravens, but drops made him lose confidence, and well, now Sweed is an infamous name. A lot of people didn't like Mendenhall, because he wasn't a north-south Bettis-type runner. More people disliked him because of Twitter comments. What do they all have in common? None are Steelers anymore. +1 Fans
2009 Offseason/Draft. You might look to this as a contributing factor as to why the cap has been tight the last few years. The Steelers signed/extended Starks, Miller, Ward, Kemoeatu, Hartwig, and Keisel. This was the start of a lot of contracts that kept players too long. However, signing most of these guys still seems reasonable. Ward/Starks - no depth behind them. Miller/Keisel - still playing at a high level. Draft: Hood, Urbik, Wallace, Lewis, Burnett, Summers, Harris, Shipley, Johnson. Very controversial draft. Wallace. The alleged one-trick pony. Depending on who you ask, he was the best thing since Sanrtonio Holmes or a better version of Nate Washington. He is gone now. Urbik. Wow! He was let go early, and has looked good in Buffalo. Lewis. You can argue that Lewis should have got paid, but I don't think money was a factor. I think he just wanted to go home. Summers was written off and his career has been revived in Buffalo. Shipley is still floating around in the NFL as a backup. Johnson came back this season to showcase his new non-Ike-Taylor hands only to get hurt. While many players from this draft contributed, only Hood and Johnson remain. Hood is a discussion in itself. Did we really expect him to be Aaron Smith? However, should he be playing like a 1st round pick now? Overall, this is a clustermess. I don't think there are any winners. I think the contracts were necessary, but they also contributed in these rookies (Wallace, Lewis) not getting extended.
Trading Santonio Holmes. In essence, Bluntonio got traded for a 5th and Bryant McFadden came back for a different 5th round pick and gave the Steelers a 6th...which is significant, because it turned into Antonio Brown. At the time, it seemed like a bad idea to "give" Holmes away, but it all worked to their advantage. +1 Front office
2010 Draft. Worilds is the topic of concern. The rest of the draft was pretty good.
2011 Draft. Heyward, Gilbert, C. Brown, C. Allen. The jury is out on this on. Gilbert, Heyward, and Allen have all shown potential. They seem to be coming into their own this season.
2012 Draft/2013 Draft. Its really too soon to tell how this crop of rookies will perform. However, negative marks for Rainey and Ta'amu.
Releasing Harrison. Seemed like a terrible idea at the time, but after watching a few Bengals games, he's not a Pro Bowl player anymore.
Decastro, Beachum, Bell. Fans had called out Decastro after week one, calling him a bust. Beachum played in just about every position on the line. He wasn't awful, and has been the best LT option they had. Bell started the season hurt and didn't look great in his first appearance. If they all play at the level they did last week....the front office wins this one big.
Releasing Dwyer. So, Dwyer gets cut for Redman. Most fans agreed this was a good move. Then Dwyer gets resigned and Redman gets cut. Both were wrong.
Hanging on to vets too long. This is a major criticism by the fans. Did the front office sign too many vets for too long. Probably, as some of the vets got paid after they had peaked and the pay wasn't equal to the level of play. The front office tried to keep a SB team together, but may have sacrificed some key younger players. It was a no-win situation. If they would have cut a key vet, then the fans would have been angry too.
Overall, I think the front office has botched a few decisions, but I think the franchise is still headed in the right direction, despite what the record is at the end of the season. I think a few key moves will put them back at the top.