Coming off a super bowl victory last season, hopes couldn't be higher for the 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers, as they should be. While the team is returning 20 out of 22 starters from that super bowl run (only losing Larry Foote and Bryant Mcfadden), things begin to look bleak as we look at the possible roster a year from now. In 2010, the Steelers will have an alarming number of key players that will be free agents if these players do not re-sign.
In all, twelve Steelers will become free agents, seven of them being unrestricted. If unsigned, the Steelers would lose players like Willie Parker, Casey Hampton, Deshea Townsend, Heath Miller, William Gay, Ryan Clark, Brett Keisel, and everybody's favorite kicker, Jeff Reid. With the signing of James Harrison, who will be 32 by the start of the 2010 season, the Steelers may have put themselves in a hole salary cap wise (assuming a new CBA is put into effect and 2010 is not an uncapped year). With the Steelers right up against the cap, and rookie signings not taken care of, little wiggle room will be available to give these potential free agents a new contract.
While all of us NFL fans know the Steelers’ GM, Kevin Colbert, knows what he's doing, and that the Rooney's have a great resume when it comes to evaluating whether or not to keep a player, it does look like there are troubled waters ahead. They haven't let this problem go unnoticed though; making additions such as 1st round draft picks Ziggy Hood and Rashard Mendenhal from the last two drafts. These picks should eventually more than plug up the possible holes in the 2010 roster, but even with additions such as these, a glaring problem rears its ugly head at the corner back position.
With the departure of Bryant McFadden, and the possibility of Deshea Townsend and William Gay becoming free agents, the only returning starting Steeler CB could be Ike Taylor, who will be 30 by the 2010 Season. While there is no problem with having Ike in any secondary, the other corner position is a worry. If the Steelers do re-sign Deshea, he will be 35 and likely nowhere near his playing level. William Gay, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is a toss-up due to his lack of experience. If neither are signed, the Steelers would need to do something they have rarely done in the past, bring in a free agent as a stop gap.
In all, the ownership of the Steelers has always been top-notch when it comes to personnel decisions, and there is much confidence that they will get things done as they often seem to do. The only question is how well and how smooth they will do this.
Keywords: Art Rooney, Art Rooney Jr., Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton, Dan Rooney, Deshea Townsend, football, free agency, free agent, Heath Miller, Ike Taylor, Jeff Reid, Kevin Colbert, nfl, pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhal, Rob Preston, Ryan Clark, steelers, Super bowl, Superbowl, William Gay, Willie Parker, Ziggy Hood