The NFL's clock ticks towards free agency and the Steelers have already begun to move some of the pieces on their chessboard.
Yet even at this late hour, Steelers Nation faces more unknowns than knows about the Black and Gold's plans for upcoming month. Which is perfect for a site like Behind the Steel Curtain, becuase it leaves us plenty of fodder for our first Free Agency Installment of the 5 Burning Questions.
1. The Steelers first move ahead of free agency was to restructure the deals of Marcus Gilbert and Michael Mitchell, two men who signed contracts with the Steelers in the last year. Maurkice Pouncey is also said to be restructuring his contract. Many in the national media and within Steelers Nation have raised a red flag, likening this to using one credit card to pay off another.
However, our own Neal Coolong assures "these aren't players in position to be released anyway, avoiding concerns surrounding dead money." Who is right, Neal or the Naysayers?
2. Teams are clearing salary cap space by unloading veteran running backs in droves. Several NFL household names have been associated with the Steelers, but Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider suggests the Steelers should skip the scrap heap and draft Le'Veon Bell's back up.
Agree or disagree, Steelers Nation?
3. A year ago Carolina semi-surprise signing of Jerricho Cotchery created a minor panic in Steelers Nation. The Steelers responded by signing Lance Moore, bringing Pittsburgh piece of mind only to cut Moore a year later. What does Moore's status shifting from indispensable to expendable in just 11 months tell you about personnel dynamics in the NFL?
4. The big question in free agency is what will happen with Jason Worilds. Predictions on Worilds future from the punditry in Pittsburgh are mixed. Ed Bouchette and Scott Brown see him as good as gone, while Dale Lolley thinks there's a good chance he'll return. Our own Neal Coolong initially came out in favor of a Worilds return, although now he's hedging his prediction.
Tell us what do you think will happen, and then play Kevin Colbert for a moment and tell us what should happen.
5. Finally, we come to the most difficult question either the Steelers or Steelers Nation has dealt with in almost a generation. Troy Polamalu wasn't himself in 2014, yet he's training with an eye towards 2015 even though you could argue that the Steelers secondary was better with Will Allen playing. But Troy Polamalu is a future Hall of Famer, and has been one of the faces of the franchise for a decade.
Your phone rings. You see the number carries a 412 area code. You answer and it's Dan Rooney. He asks for your advice on that to do about Polamalu. What do you tell the Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers?
There go folks. Have at it. Remember to get full credit you must show your work.