Two our most popular and talented players, Troy Polamalu and Alan Faneca, will be free agents after the 2007 season. We know this; we've talked about it before, and we've discussed how the Steelers could re-sign both stars by trimming fat in other areas of the football team.
There is a chance, however--and I wouldn't call it a small chance even--that the Steelers are unable to resign both. Given how much money this year's free agents have made, it wouldn't surpirse me if either Troy or Alan (or both) decide to play out their contracts and test the open-market. Unless, of course, both are offered mega-deals prior to the 2007 season. This is the Steelers though, making that possibility not all that likely given the history of the front-office.
Faneca in particular, must be salivating over the lucractive contracts signed by far inferior offensive lineman this offseason. Leonard Davis' obscene contract with the Cowboys immediately comes to mind. Faneca is also 31 years old, and likely has only one more big contract left before retirement. Faneca is what I would call a 'True Steeler'--unlike Plaxico Burress and Joey Porter--but I wouldn't blame him one bit if he finished his career elsewhere for a boatload more money than the Steelers would pay him.
What about Polamalu? Well, he's 26 years old, 5 years younger than Faneca. But, he's suffered multiple concussions since college and missed significant time last year with a shoulder injury. In other words, he's a more risky investment than Faneca, especially when you consider how he makes his living: running around the field at full speed with reckless abandon and total disregard for his physical well-being.
But, he's a mercurial talent. Perhaps the most unique defensive talent in the entire NFL when healthy. So if the Steelers deem it financially impossible to lock up both Polamalu and Faneca after 2007, which of the two do they keep?
What would you do?