The last few years has seen a number of fan favorites departing Pittsburgh for reluctant retirement or a payday with a lesser NFL franchise. 2015 will be no exception in that regard as Ike Taylor likely heads off into the sunset retiring as a life long Steelers.
Big decisions will need to be made, if they don't happen this off-season, for impending free agents Maurkice Pouncey, Jason Worilds and Cortez Allen among others with 16 players eligible for unrestricted free agency.
Having established a figure for expected Salary Cap space of a little over $20 million in 2015 the Steelers will be in a better position than in recent years to retain a good number of the 43 players out of contract next year if they should wish but it is unlikely they will be able to keep all of the more significant names.
The more obvious names looking likely to be playing their last year in Pittsburgh in 2014 seem to be Shaun Suisham who may be victim to the rising cost of kickers in the NFL if a cheaper option could be found. He has proved to be quite reliable but leg strength has not been his friend and that doesn't figure to get better with age. Matt Spaeth is another that could be looking for work elsewhere if a pick is spent on a tight end this year or if David Paulson or Michael Palmer can stake a claim to be the second string tight end. Marcus Gilbert certainly will have something to prove if he hopes to receive a second contract from the Steelers as will Chris Carter.
Assuming they all make the final roster, with a good year players like Arthur Moats, Brice McCain, Adam Podlesh or Darrius Heyward-Bey could make a claim for a long term deal in Pittsburgh. However it would be a stretch to imagine all four being brought back again next season.
Kevin Colbert has often said the Steelers keep an eye on the following years expected free agents when addressing the draft the year before and there is a good chance that decisions made this year will give clues about which players they intend letting go next year.
With four defensive backs and five linebackers set to be unrestricted free agents next season it is no surprise both positions have been the most invited out of all draftees to Pittsburgh. To date the Steelers have met with eight DBs and seven LBs.
Technically as of today Cam Heyward should be on this list as a free agent next year but as the Steelers are expected to exercise his fifth year option between now and May 3rd he has been factored into the active roster numbers instead.
The complete list of players out of contract at the end of 2014 as it stands right now:
|Player||Position||Type||Age||2014 Cap Hit|