Judging by the way many of the loyal readers here at BTSC have graded the Pittsburgh Steelers' offseason thus far, it has been average at best. However, if you listen to the Steelers' brass talk, this offseason is going exactly according to plan.
When team president Art Rooney II met with media and discussed topics like free agency, Ben Roethlisberger's extension or the acquisitions - or lack thereof - of free agent prospects he seemed completely content with what has transpired to this point. The same can be said when GM Kevin Colbert echoed those same sentiments at the annual owners meeting, and recently Mike Tomlin jumped on board with his thoughts on the offseason. All three agreed they were pleased with the Steelers' offseason moves.
Fans might wonder how a team who's only acquisition in the offseason has been signing veteran running back DeAngelo Williams could be considering moving on 'according to plan', but in the front office it seems that is exactly what is happening.
The team's top priority this offseason clearly was extending Roethlisberger's contract. Doing so will keep their best offensive player on the field for years to come. On top of that, they wanted to replace LeGarrette Blount's vacated position as the veteran back up running back with someone who could carry the load in Le'Veon Bell's absence likely at the start of the season. Enter DeAngelo Williams.
The organization felt strongly about players like Arthur Moats, Matt Spaeth, Antwon Blake, Will Johnson and Robert Golden to keep all of them in-house and not allow them to test the free agent waters. Lastly, when Jason Worilds shocked the organization with his retirement, they brought back James Harrison for at least one more season to help add depth at the outside linebacker position.
Believe it or not, Tomlin and company are happy with their offseason thus far. As Colbert told the media, they have about 95-percent of their attention now on the upcoming NFL Draft where they hope to fill many needs, almost all of them defensively. The Steelers likely aren't done making moves, but the moves which could still be made will likely all remain inside the Steelers' walls. Troy Polamalu's future still hangs over the entire organization, and several players are looking to have their contracts extended before the season begins.
Although the transactions which have been made this offseason won't quench most fans' thirst for big-name players coming to Pittsburgh, the Steelers are prepared to take this team, with a few additions from the draft, and head into the 2015 season ready to roll.
Whether they see success will largely depend on the maturation of a young defensive corps, along with the ability to hit more draft picks than miss. Time will tell, but the Steelers front office seems content with the progress - if you want to call it that - which has been made.