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Analyzing the Steelers to-do list after locking up Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell

The Pittsburgh Steelers have locked up two of their key offensive playmakers for the 2017 season, but there is still plenty to do on their offseason checklist.

(Editor’s Note: This article and podcast were both constructed prior to James Harrison signing his new 2-year contract.)

When you can take arguably the best running back, and the best wide receiver in the NFL and lock them up within the organization for the upcoming season, all in one day, most would say the organization can sit back and relax. Job well done.

Well, unless you are the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Although the team was able to franchise tag Le’Veon Bell, and sign Antonio Brown to a long-term contract, there is still plenty to do in regards to their offseason checklist. Sure, figuring out how to handle Bell before hitting free agency and getting Brown a new deal were at the top of the team’s to-do list, but there are other areas of the team which need tending to this offseason.

In fact, I have boiled it down to 5 items which the Steelers need to check off their to-do list this offseason. I outline these 5 items in more depth in the above Steelers Connection podcast, give it a listen!

Now for the to-do list (in no particular order):

  • Make decision on Ryan Shazier’s 5th year option

Last season the team passed on Jarvis Jones’ 5th year option, but I doubt they do so with their dynamic inside linebacker. Shazier could be on the Cameron Heyward and David DeCastro track of playing under the 5th year option, then hitting pay dirt the following season.

  • Give Stephon Tuitt a new contract

Although Heyward is the big name on the defensive front, Tuitt is a player the team can truly build around. A first round talent, taken in the second round, Tuitt should be a priority this offseason, and coming off a season where his statistics declined, they could sign him for less money.

  • Get a deal done with James Harrison

Harrison reportedly wants a two-year deal, and the Steelers should be willing to do just that. If they can sign Harrison to a team-friendly deal, one which wouldn’t put the team behind the 8-ball if they decide to part ways after 2017, Harrison has proven he can still play at a high level.

  • What about D-Will?

We talk about Harrison, but what about DeAngelo Williams. Williams is set to be an unrestricted free agent this March, and no one has said a word about his return this offseason. Does he still want to play? Do the Steelers still want him? All questions which need to be answered when you look at the stable of running backs on the roster heading into 2017.

  • Figure out a new contract for Le’Veon Bell

The franchise tag is nice, but at the same time the team has to want Bell’s services beyond the 2017 season. They will have until the start of the regular season to try and get a new deal done, but it won’t be an easy task. Bell will likely want to be the highest paid running back in the league, but how much cap space is the team willing to put towards his new deal? Or, will they have him play on the franchise tag to see if he could play a full season for the first time in his young career?

A lot of decisions to be made, but although the team certainly crossed off two big items off their list, there is still plenty of work to be done.

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