I know this won’t be a popular narrative among Pittsburgh Steelers fans, but I truly believe it. As the organization embarks on another off-season without a Super Bowl championship in tow, fans’ confidence in the team is at an all-time low.
I spoke about this not too long ago, but instead of just wondering where the swagger went, it’s also worth noting why fans should still have that swagger and how they should still trust the Steelers, even without a recent championship under their belt.
While some are disgusted with the Steelers’ salary-cap situation, no team is better at manipulating the cap than Pittsburgh. Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan know how to navigate the team through the rivers of salary-cap hell and get them safely to the other side.
When you look at the team’s current free-agent situation, only the signing of Le’Veon Bell, if the team chooses to do so, would be considered a high priority. And the team has already started moving money around to give them the flexibility to make the moves they deem necessary to win. On top of that, there’s no way they’re done moving money and freeing up more space this off-season.
When it comes to the addition of talent via the 2018 NFL Draft, let’s be honest. During the Tomlin and Colbert era, the team has had way more hits than strikeouts, to use the baseball analogy. Yes, there was Jarvis Jones and Limas Sweed, but there was also Cameron Heyward, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, David DeCastro and more! This team might take risks, and you may not agree with their draft philosophy, but they’ll act with due diligence, adding players with the talent to contribute — just look at the past two rookie classes for example.
If there’s been an Achilles heel for this front office, it would be free-agency. The Steelers almost always stay on the sideline, waiting for the feeding frenzy to die down before making moves—and some of those moves have done anything but work out. For every DeAngelo Williams and Joe Haden signing, there have been players like Ladarius Green and LeGarrette Blount. The team might like to go out and put their name in the hat for players like D’onta Hightower, but that’s generally not how the team operates. They are a homegrown organization, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
So, let’s recap.
The Steelers are among the best at manipulating the salary cap and signing their own. They have a great track record in drafting players, and they’re batting about .500 when it comes to picking up new talent via free agency.
Okay, you take these givens and consider the holes needing filled on the the current roster and you see an organization more than capable of putting another Super Bowl-contending team on the field for the 2018-2019 season.
Yes, I realize the last two seasons have ended with gigantic thuds, but I also know this team wins, and eventually they’ll win when it counts. But will these big-game wins come next season? No one can answer that right now, but I certainly have faith in the organization to get the team back where they need to be.