A Breakdown Of Pittsburgh Steelers’ Top Free Agents
A Breakdown Of Steelers' Major Free Agents
The Pittsburgh Steelers finished the 2013 NFL season with a record of 8-8, marking the second consecutive year in which the organization has missed the playoffs and completed a season with an 8-8 record. This is the first time this has occurred with Mike Tomlin as the team's head coach. Furthermore, it is also the first time the Steelers have missed out on the playoffs for two straight years since the 2000 NFL season.
Much like the 2013 offseason, the 2014 offseason will be full of many decisions regarding the salary cap for the Steelers. As of now, the team is more than $10 million over the cap limit for the 2014 season, according to Spotrac.
Cornerback Ike Taylor, who had a very lackluster 2013 season and is in his mid-30s, is scheduled to have a salary of $7 million in 2014. Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, whose last three seasons have been riddled with injuries, is expected to have a salary of $8 million next season. These two players are likely going to have their contracts restructured. Taylor may even be released.
On top of the salary cap problems, the Steelers have 25 players who will be hitting free agency this offseason. The organization has to get the salary cap under control so it can re-sign some of its free agents. I suspect getting under the cap limit will not be a problem, since the Steelers hired Omar Khan, who handles the team's contract, known as a "capologist," the club has always found a way to get under the cap limit. That said, re-signing some of the team's free agents will be a tough task.
7. DE Brett Keisel
The Steelers have quite a few defensive lineman entering free agency in 2014, and Brett Keisel is at the top of the list. Keisel is 35-years old and has played 11 NFL seasons. In 2013, Keisel showed signs of slowing down. He ended up missing a few games of the 2013 season due to injury, and his run defense declined in quality. The Steelers should move on from Keisel, but he may be re-signed, considering the lack of depth on the defensive line.
6. S Ryan Clark
Ryan Clark's ship has sailed. Clark played awfully in 2013. He missed a large amount of tackles, and he was a huge liability in coverage. Clark will not be playing for the Steelers next season, nor will he be playing for any other NFL team.
5. DE Ziggy Hood
Ziggy Hood was drafted by the Steelers in 2009, and he's become a rather large bust. Cameron Heyward ended up leaping ahead of Hood on the depth chart last season, but due to depth, Hood could find his way back in a Steelers uniform in 2014.
4. WR Emmanuel Sanders
It's unlikely that we will see Emmanuel Sanders back with the Steelers next season. He drew interest from the Patriots last season when he was a restricted free agent. Sanders finished 2013 with 740 receiving yards and six touchdowns, which wasn't a bad season, but he fell short of what was expected from him. Markus Wheaton has a ton of potential, and Jerricho Cotchery would likely sign for cheaper.
3. WR Jerricho Cotchery
Jerricho Cotchery has to be one of the Steelers' top priorities. In 2013, Cotchery made a lot of plays on third downs, and he caught 10 touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how many other teams will try to pursue him. Nonetheless, there's a good chance Cotchery is staying in Pittsburgh.
2. OLB Jason Worilds
Jason Worilds had a breakout season in 2013, which is unfortunate for Pittsburgh. He totaled seven sacks and was a force in the run defense. Worilds will have at least a couple of teams interested in him, and those teams are likely to throw more cash at him.
1. S Will Allen
With Ryan Clark likely departing and Troy Polamalu's career coming to a close soon, the Steelers should re-sign Will Allen. The depth in the secondary is lacking.