It’s a fact of life in the NFL. Some veterans, whether it’s because of talent, money, or both, are on the chopping block each offseason. That’s no exception for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as Kevin Colbert explained in his press conference with the media Thursday morning, via the PPG’s Ed Bouchette.
Colbert said there are some longterm vets with contracts on the roster who may not be with Steelers in 2018: “That’s always a possibility when you’re trying to get your team better and under the cap”
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) February 15, 2018
Of course, Colbert didn’t get into specifics of who those players that might be. You probably know the options but we’ll walk through them anyway.
Mike Mitchell is the biggest name. Owed a $5 million base salary in 2018, he’s lacked splash plays and the defense struggled to communicate, which is one of his calling cards as a veteran on the team. The Steelers will at least look to add to its safety spot this year, though it’s likely to happen in the draft than free agency. That means if Mitchell were to get cut, it may not happen until May. Cutting him means finding his replacement first.
Sticking with the secondary, William Gay’s spot is in danger. It’s hard to find a role for him next year without any special teams value. Yesterday, we wrote about the need to move him to safety full-time in order for him to have even a chance to make it. He’s scheduled to earn $1.75 million next season, not a crazy high price but arguably too much for the value he’ll offer.
J.J.Wilcox is an obvious candidate to get cut even if he’s not a veteran to Pittsburgh. Coty Sensabaugh is a candidate as well.
The Steelers’ offense has fewer options. Darrius Heyward-Bey could be on that list but will likely be carried into training camp, especially with the current thin state of the WR group.
Although the Steelers cleared up gobs of cap space restructuring the contracts of Stephon Tuitt and David DeCastro, there’s still a ways to go to get to the number they need to be. The realization of tagging Le’Veon Bell complicates the situation as well.