It is July, which means football is right around the corner. July 27th the Pittsburgh Steelers report to Latrobe, PA for another training camp. Although we still have a few weeks of the “dog days” of the NFL offseason, it doesn’t mean there isn’t news to still be discussed.
We take you around the world wide web to give you your daily dose of black and gold, along with making BTSC your one-stop-shop for all things Steelers.
In a deadline-driven business, three teams are driving toward a key deadline.
For Pittsburgh, Washington, and the L.A. Rams, one day remains to sign franchise-tagged players to long-term deals. Specifically, the deadline arrives Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET...
...As to Pittsburgh, there’s still no indication that the team and running back Le’Veon Bell are making any progress or even having any talks. Given that he’ll make $12.1 million for 2017 and in light of the fact that the current market is 66 percent of that, the Steelers may not be inclined to use the standard approach for turning a tag into a long-term deal (i.e., the current tag plus a 20-percent raise for the next year, fully guaranteed at signing), and Bell would have no reason to agree to any other approach, since he’ll get his $12.1 million now and either a 20-percent raise if tagged again next year or an opportunity to become a free agent.
However it turns out, the clock is ticking more loudly than ever. for all three teams. Don’t be surprised if none of the three tagged players sign long-term contracts before the clock strikes four in New York on Monday.
It’s not clear how long Ben Roethlisberger will continue to play quarterback for the Steelers after mulling retirement in the offseason. A panel of experts, however, expects the Steelers will remain one of the best teams in the NFL for the next several years provided he remains behind center.
ESPN released its future power rankings with an outlook for the next three seasons Monday, and the Steelers came in at No. 5 behind New England, Seattle, Atlanta and Green Bay. They were also the top-ranked team in the AFC North Division, ahead of Cincinnati (No. 14), Baltimore (No. 17) and Cleveland (No. 32).
The methodology was straightforward — three experts ranked NFL teams No. 1 through No. 32 in five categories: roster, quarterback, draft, front office and coaching. The ranks were averaged for a score per category, and then those rankings were averaged and weighted to find an overall score.
The Steelers got high marks for their offensive roster, which includes a veteran offensive line and proven playmakers including Roethlisberger, receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell, while the defense was highlighted as the “biggest worry” because of its struggles in slowing down the Patriots’ passing game in the AFC championship.
Expert Mike Sando, however, wrote that the team’s upside largely rests in Roethlisberger as he transitions into the later years of his career.
The Steelers ranked among the top 10 in every category. They could outperform their No. 10 ranking at QB if Roethlisberger plays effectively into his late 30s. [New England quarterback Tom] Brady's maniacal approach to fitness and health might not be for everyone, but some level of added commitment from the 35-year-old Roethlisberger is not out of the question as he ages.
The Steelers’ overall score was 84.35. Their biggest strengths, according to the rankings, are their roster and their coaching, both of which were ranked third-best in the NFL by the panel. Their front office was ranked fourth and their drafting was ranked eighth.