The Pittsburgh Steelers secondary struggled through most of the 2015 season, allowing 271.9 yards per game, third worst in the entire NFL. Former BTSC contributor and current 247Sports writer Bryan DeArdo thinks that the legendary Troy Polamalu has another year left in the tank and should have been brought back for the 2015 season. Current contributor Dani Bostick thinks that is-- in a word-- absurd.
Bryan DeArdo's Point: The Steelers should have brought back Polamalu
While Troy clearly wasn't at his best in 2014, he was playing through injuries, just as he did during the 2012 season, when people thought he had lost a stop. But in 2013, Polamalu was healthy once again, and earned his eighth Pro Bowl nod while helping the team win six of its final eight games.
Given that the team didn't replace him with a young up-and-comer this past season (33-year-old Will Allen got most of the starts at safety), it wouldn't have hurt to let Troy come back and let him close out his career with one more healthy season. Surely, he and the team could have come to a financial agreement if they had decided to bring him back, and, if he was indeed struggling, Polamalu doesn't seem like someone who would gripe about a diminished role or a lack of playing time. And given the secondary's 30th place finish against the pass, Troy surely could have made some sort of an impact on the unit, even if was in a James Harrison-like way where Polamalu served as the secondary's part-time player, leader and pseudo coach.
Very few players exemplify an organization like Troy Polamlau did both on and off the field. For that alone, he deserved one more season to go out on his own terms.
Dani Bostick's Counterpoint: It was the right move to let Polamalu go
Safety Troy Polamalu had an astoundingly productive career. And, it is true that the Steelers secondary needs help. It does not follow, however, that the Steelers should have brought back Troy Polamalu as part of Operation Save Our Secondary (OSOS).
Former first-round draft pick, Polamalu finished his storied career with 770 tackles, 12 sacks, 100 passes defensed, 32 interceptions, and three touchdowns. He also had countless game-changing plays and inspirational moments that cannot be represented on a stats sheet.
Though his contributions to the Steelers team were invaluable, the era of Troy Polamalu is over. It would have been nice if he had been able to go out on his own terms, but Polamalu's productivity had waned in recent seasons due to nagging injuries and the effects of age. His trademark speed and uncanny instincts were dulled just enough at the end that he frequently arrived almost in time to make an amazing play. In 2014, he had just one pass defensed and no interceptions. Compare that to 2010, one of his best seasons, when he had 11 passes defensed and seven interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
A final drawback to the team bringing back Polamalu in 2015 -- if he had been able and willing to play -- is that it would have delayed even further the development of younger players. The Steelers need to find the future of the secondary, and with Polamalu still in the fold someone like Robert Golden never would have seen the field.
Now, if the Steelers wanted to bring back Troy Polamalu as a coach and transition away from Carnell Lake, my view on his return would be quite different.