News broke Tuesday evening ex-Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will join the Tennessee Titans' coaching staff as an assistant head coach in charge of their defense. Ex-Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton will retain defensive coordinator status, but whom they will be coaching becomes paramount.
The Steelers stand to say goodbye to a few defensive players, and as a Titans team looks to rebuild on the defensive side of the ball, a few of them may serve well as a stand-in to help mentor their younger and developing players.
The first would be safety Troy Polamalu. With a $6 million cap savings with $2.25 million dead in 2015, releasing Polamalu seems inevitable. Bernard Pollard missed the majority of the 2014 season, and has a cut-friendly contract ($3.2 million in savings with $425,000 dead). George Wilson, his replacement, is a free agent.
Free safety Michael Griffin is coming off a disaster of the 2014 season, and with a Polamalu-like $4.5 million in savings compared to $3.6 million dead, Tennessee may look to overhaul their deep secondary.
Polamalu is a strong candidate to be a post-June 1 release, which means he'd be available to sign immediately with other teams but the Steelers would hold his contract on the books until after June 1. The money they'd save against the cap would pay for most of their 2015 draft class.
Defensive end Brett Keisel also faces a release. A modest $1.5 million with $250,000 dead, his release is simply based in the idea the team can start Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward, and probably keep Dan McCullers as a DE/NT back-up. It would seem Cam Thomas is set to be released from his $2 million base salary ($500,000 dead) as well.
Cornerback Ike Taylor is a free agent, as is outside linebacker James Harrison. Both could likely be acquired for the veteran minimum, should they elect to continue playing. Both have been outspoken in their love for LeBeau, and perhaps if the need arises, they could end up in Tennessee.
Their hypothetical signing would likely take place after the draft or even during training camp, depending on how Tennessee wants to build their team.