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The release of William Gay is just the beginning of the salary cap purge for the Steelers

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are just getting started when it comes to players leaving the team for financial reasons.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is a tough business, and sometimes moves have to be made for financial purposes. Other times, these moves are motivated by performance, or a combination of finances and performance.

Either way, the likelihood of a player staying in one spot for his entire NFL career is not the norm anymore, but a rare occurrence. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have already reportedly started to purge their roster of players who just don’t fit anymore.

William Gay was the first to suggest he won’t be returning for the 2018 season, and he would certainly fall in the category of saving money, as well as his performance starting to sag, when discussing why he will likely be let go when the new league year begins.

While Gay might have been the first, he won’t be the last.

It was reported Mike Mitchell will be given the chance to find a new team, if he wants, and the same can be said about J.J. Wilcox. Even though the Steelers discussed bringing both players back at a lower price, don’t expect either to turn down other offers for a home town discount.

Then there are players like Joe Haden and Vance McDonald. Acquisitions before last season, both have some hefty price tags heading into the 2018 season. Will the team absorb those deals? Or will they ask them to re-structure their contracts to help the team add some talent via the free agent pool?

While players like Gay and Mitchell could be shown the door partially for their on-field performances, the fact of the matter is the Steelers have to do this if they want to bring in any new players via free agency. While the rest of the NFL is pulling the trigger on deals like they are playing a video game, the Steelers, as usual, sit back and watch — waiting for their time to add a player of value.

The patience has paid off on more than one occasion, and the Steelers will want to add some talent at key positions, primarily safety and inside linebacker, but will need the space to work some magic. While they are reportedly cap compliant by the skin of their teeth, thanks to Alejandro Villanueva, Antonio Brown, David DeCastro and Stephon Tuitt, more work needs to be done.

Who will stay? Who will go? Only time will tell, but expect the Steelers to be busy handling their own business in the early portions of the official free agency period by way of potential extensions, for someone like Ben Roethlisberger, as well as the release of several players to help give the team the financial flexibility they desire.

In other words, stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as the new league year is slated to officially begin at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday March 14th.