As I stare out at the 5 degree snow, I decided to do a wish list mock draft/off season. I used the approach Steeler Fever used to determine players available at a pick (if the Steelers are making the 15th selection, it is any player from +/- 5 on the CBS draft board). Trades were based on the trade value chart.
And as this is not so much what I think will happen but I hope will happen, it reflects my bias to what I think the Steelers should do in this draft and off season. That bias is based on these opinions:
1. The Steelers have 4 to 6 years left in Ben's career and should think of that as a window for winning more super bowl(s). Franchise QBs are difficult to come by, no telling when we will have another.
2. The Steelers are not one or two players away from being super bowl contenders. They have many holes on the roster to fill or upgrade.
3. Over paying for players is a death sentence in the NFL. The salary cap and player cost effectiveness is the second competition in the NFL. Teams that win that win on the field.
So, my wish list of offseason moves:
-Release Lamar Woodley - He is a poster child of a not cost effective player. Given his injury history why would we possibly think he will stay healthy next year. This is cap neutral this year but saves us big next year and beyond.
-Release Ike Taylor – very good and underappreciated player for many years who time has caught up with. He was suspect last year and there is no reason to think he will rebound.
-Release Troy Polamalu – Iconic player for a decade and still made some very splashy plays last year. But the coaching staff barely asked him to play safety any more. He lined up more as a LB. And take a look at his ass, he weighs as much as one now. Injury history also. Like Ike, no reason to think his level of play will improve this coming year and will likely decline. And given what we would have to pay him, he does not pass the cost effective test, see #3 above. The hardest decision but a lot of the Steelers success has been based on not overpaying veterans for past performance.
Release Levi Brown
These moves get the Steelers well under the salary cap so they can (PLEASE!) stop restructuring contracts and pushing money out into the future.
-Resign/extend Ben – The leverage to do this will never be better than now and will keep him the rest of his career at a relative bargain (see #3 above) as opposed to Flacco, Joe.
-Try to resign Worilds, Sanders, Hood, Woods and Cortez Allen – But only at market price. Do not overpay out of desperation.
On to the draft. I will assume we resign Worilds, Hood, Woods and Allen but not Sanders for determining needs.
Round 1 – Trade with San Francisco, who thinks they are one player away, with the Steelers giving up their first round pick (#15) for the Niners first (#30), second (#61) and third (#94). With the 30th pick the Steelers select FS Calvin Prior, Louisville. With Ryan Clark and Troy gone, we need safeties.
Round 2 – With pick #46, they take WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Round 2 – With the SF pick, #61, they take CB Kyle Fuller, Va Tech.
Round 3 – with the SF pick #94, they take CB Keith McGill, Utah. Our secondary is not ancient any more.
Round 3 – Compensatory pick for Wallace #97, they take ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford.
Round 4 – With #114 they take TE CJ Fiedorowicz., Iowa
Round 5 – With #145 they take OLB Prince Shembo, Notre Dame
Round 5 – Compensatory pick for Lewis #165 they take WR Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley
Round 6 – With #176 they take TE Joe Don Duncan, Dixie State. Matt Spaeth is nervous. In fact, he is cut. Him and Scott Paulsen. No, wait. David Paulsen. And how cool will it be to have a guy named Joe Don? Just wish Myron was still around for it.
Round 7 – With #208 RB De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
There is my wish list for the Steeler offseason and draft. It doesn’t scratch every itch. There is nothing for either OL or DL beyond resigning Hood and Woods. But it gets us out of salary cap hell and adds youth in a bunch of positions of need.