The free agent receiving the most media buzz is Antwaan Randle El, multi-threat extraordinaire and Super Bowl hero. Did you realize that Randle El had a perfect quarterback rating on the year? Just one of many fun El-Facts. The question, though, looms: will the Steelers resign him? More importantly, should they?
Should they? It'd sure be nice to have him back, but the Steelers don't have much salary cap wiggle room, so it'd take a home town discount. Will Randle El give the Steelers that discount? Something tells me that God's not the one making this decision. The odds are good that Randle El will go to Chicago, which is close to home, and who will pay him more than the Steelers can.
The Steelers will miss Randle El, to be sure, but we're not talking about a franchise player here. Randle El is somewhat unique, but there are lots of players of his mold. Teams just aren't using them as well as the Steelers have learned to use Randle El. Which brings me to an important point. If I'm Randle El, I want to think long and hard about which team I'm going to, and be assured that they'll put my particular strengths to best use.
As for the Steelers, they'll continue to let the players that command too much money to walk. As Steeler fans, we're used to it. The Steelers lose guys we love every year. And every year new people step up and thrive in the system. It'll happen again next year.
Potential Randle El replacements to watch in the draft: Reggie McNeal (Texas A&M), Michael Robinson (Penn State).