The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to plunge into a season of uncertainty, and one of those difficult decisions will be a decision which is out of the organization’s hands.
Clearly, I’m referring to the decision making process of players who are contemplating retirement.
There are several players who have been thought to be considering retirement this offseason, and those players would be:
QB Ben Roethlisberger
C Maurkice Pouncey
OT Alejandro Villanueva
There have even been talks about David DeCastro considering stepping away from the game, considering his attachment to the core of the offensive line which is essentially gone from the team. Nonetheless, this is all speculation at this point, even considering there were rumors of Pouncey already making his decision on retirement just last week.
During Mike Tomlin’s end of season press conference Wednesday, he was asked if there was a timeline for players to give him notice of their pending retirement, or return. Tomlin said there is no such timeline.
“I don’t know what the timeline is for those types of decisions, to be honest.” Tomlin said. “Like I mentioned, I’m still very much assessing what transpired and just beginning the process of evaluating what transpired and information gathering in an effort to plot a course in terms of moving forward. Those roads usually converge in the upcoming weeks or so, and I imagine that they will. I don’t know that I have any level of anticipation specifically as I sit here of when that might be.”
Tomlin said there isn’t a timeline, but the Steelers don’t have the financial flexibility for players to mull over the decision all offseason. When you think about players like Roethlisberger and Pouncey, who both carry significant salaries in 2021, the Steelers will have some tough decisions to make if they have to replace those players.
If these players were to wait till well after NFL Free Agency, or even the NFL Scouting Combine, the Steelers would be behind the proverbial 8-ball when it comes to preparing to replace these players if they do call it quits.
Mike Tomlin said there is no timeline, and I certainly don’t always buy what he is selling from a press conference, but the Steelers would have to have some type of deadline for players to let them know their plans. If not, it would screw the organization over even more than their heavy salary cap hits for the 2021 season.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 season preparing for free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft.