Among the rash of personnel moves the Pittsburgh Steelers made recently was the team re-signing safety Will Allen. Allen began last season with the Dallas Cowboys until he was taken off waivers by the Steelers in Week 6 of the 2013 NFL season.
Re-signing the 31-year-old Allen was a smart move by the Steelers and one that carries with it the foreseen departure of long time safety Ryan Clark.
Clark has been a mainstay alongside Troy Polamlu in the Steelers’ secondary, but his lack of production, age and comments made off the field have made him a liability.
Allen not only knows the system, but he played great football for the Steelers last season. In his limited time with the club he garnered a forced fumble, an interception and 34 combined tackles.
The one-year deal given to Allen spells out the Steelers’ plans for the future at the safety position. I would expect the Steelers to try and find another safety in this year’s NFL Draft to complete the future safety tandem alongside Shamarko Thomas.
Regardless of the duration of the contract or the amount being given to Allen, the shoes left by Clark will be difficult to fill. Clark’s bone crushing hits and ability to make a big play have made him a fan favorite in the Steel City, not to mention the rapport he has developed with Polamalu over his seven seasons with the Steelers.
Whether Clark’s career will take him to another NFL franchise or behind a desk at ESPN is unknown; but the Steelers made a football decision, and it was the correct one.
The Steelers need to get rid of the aging players that no longer produce as they once did. After all, loyalty can only last so long in today’s NFL.
Re-signing Allen has been just one of the many smart decisions made by GM Kevin Colbert and company.