So , you thought this offseason was going to be the "normal" type one we normally go through as Steeler fans , consisting of just restructuring and holding on to the older guys and those not performing for just one more season holding out the hope that maybe , just maybe these players will find "lightning in a bottle" and be able to avoid the injuries and eroding of their skills as Father Time just weaves his magic on them?
Admit it, you ARE surprised at what the Steelers have done this offseason. Looking into it , did you really expect that going into March the Steelers would retain Worilds, extend both Troy and Heath , get Ike to take a massive pay cut and then make a 25 million dollar splash in free agency with the signing of a younger version of Ryan Clark in Mike Mitchell? True , that Mitchell may not see all of the $25 million but that is the total number he was signed for. With everyone being a cap expert, opinions went around as to who to keep , who to let go . Al Woods , a journeyman defensive lineman , was a target by many of a player to keep. Woods had a good not great year and suddenly , he 's a star? The Steelers can and have (Cam Thomas) found a replacement for Woods in free agency and probably will find one in the draft (Hageman or Tuitt ) . A bunch of people tried to convince us there was no possible way the Steelers would keep Worilds at the expense of LaMarr Woodley , but , as we saw , the Steelers resigned Worilds and said "Adios" to Woodley and his chronic hamstring issues. Who knows , maybe Woodley , like Joey Porter , will have one good year left in the tank, but that is the Raiders concern , not ours.
If these doubters and "doom & gloomers" had believed that the Steelers weren't going to keep Worilds , let Woodley go etc; , imagine their surprise when the Steelers signed Mitchell! Mitchell, as said before , is the younger version of Ryan Clark, with the same disdain for Roger "King of NFL" Goodell, and a penchant for punishing receivers ,while adding speed and playmaking ability . We will see if his abilities were a result of the surrounding talent he had in Carolina. As for Ike , he may not be able to shadow top receivers as well as he did before , but he still can play , and at a reduced rate of 2.75 million a year , which is a resounding win for the Steelers.
Now I'm not saying they have fixed all their holes and yes, there are still some problems that need to be solved. The offense might be carrying the load next season because the defense will be a patchwork one . It could be worse if Jarvis Jones doesn't fill out or if Worilds morphs back into a chronically injured underachiever instead of the "Worilds" beater we saw last season. It's going to take more than one offseason to correct the poor draft decisions (Bye Ziggy Hood) , injuries (Woodley ) bad personnel decisions (Keenan Lewis) and natural erosion (Sportscenter is calling you Ryan Clark) that has depleted a once dominant defense. In past offseasons the Steelers free agent war room was depicted as a bunch of guys sleeping at their desks. Looks like they woke up this year!! I leave you with this If you don't like what the Steelers have done in the past ten days of free agency , you are just plain stubborn and also need to wake up !