Steelers the most intriguing team to watch this offseason

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

NFL.com produced a feature recently with an interesting hook buried by superficial information. Here are the real reasons why the Steelers are an intriguing team to watch this offseason.

Writing but making no specific point - or at least an unoriginal one - is an acquired talent.

NFL.com writer Adam Schein does it pretty well.

He listed the Pittsburgh Steelers as the No. 1 most intriguing team to watch this offseason - yes, we've dipped into that portion of the offseason schedule.

A general summary of nationally-produced headlines about the Steelers will include the requisite Old and Time To Move On bit, the emergence of running back Le'Veon Bell, the presence of Ben Roethlisberger and the addition of Mike Munchak. Shein hits on all of those points, and even throws in a tidbit about how he knew the Steelers would start 0-4 in 2013 "because they didn't have the requisite talent."

Let's highlight some real reasons why the Steelers' offseason will be intriguing.

Decisions to be made at wide receiver and outside linebacker

Outside of the quarterback, arguably the two most talked-about positions on the field are edge pass rushers and receivers. The Steelers have two free agent receivers who combined for a sizable portion of the team's receptions in 2013 - Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery. Sanders likely will price himself out of Pittsburgh, and Cotchery likely endeared himself with teammates, coaches and fans throughout the last two years. The debate isn't so much whether they'll keep both (they won't) but if they'll keep Cotchery, and what it will take to keep him with the franchise he's spoken so highly about since joining the team three years ago.

Outside linebacker gets a little tougher. Cutting Woodley saves some cap money but the team will still take dead money both in 2014 and 2015. The money they'd save would, theoretically, go toward a new deal for Jason Worilds, establishing the former second-round pick as the team's predominant edge rusher.

Let's say Woodley is released - is Worilds a long-term answer? How much will it cost the Steelers to find out? Along with that, how long will it take Jarvis Jones to develop, considering Worilds not only struggled with injuries throughout his first four years, but a lack of production (comparatively speaking) in that time?

Defensive line in flux

This is where most would hem and haw regarding the age of the unit, but the fact is Cameron Heyward is an emerging defensive star, Steve McLendon is a pass rusher playing nose tackle and they have two defensive ends in training - not to mention an upcoming draft with a few players seemingly well-equipped to handle the five technique position in the next two seasons. Add in the possibility of re-signing Al Woods possibly as a stop-gap starter, or even bringing Brett Keisel back for a season as future starters are groomed, the unit isn't in terrible shape. There are just a few question marks not likely to be fully answered until September.

Between nose tackle and defensive end, it seems the most likely right now the Steelers would find a player who would best fit the talent criteria as well as biggest future need when the team drafts at No. 15 overall.

Cornerback

The Steelers could move on from veteran Ike Taylor, eat some dead money and make a concerted effort to get younger at the position. They could basically offer Taylor a reduced salary to stick around for a year while looking to still accomplish the goal of getting younger. The loss of Keenan Lewis appears tougher than initially anticipated, making cornerback a very strong possibility with the 15th pick. In the short term, though, it appears the Steelers and Taylor both have reason to want to talk contract early in the process.

These are some small samples of the detail behind what will be an eventful Steelers' offseason.

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