The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How much business will the Steelers be able to take care of today?
According to the reports, the NFL continues to maintain that the start of the new league year will not be moved, and the rest of the timeline previously arrange remains intact. That means that teams who want to apply the franchise or transition tag to one of their players will have to do so by noon today, as the first deadline.
Even though the Steelers are now expected to be over the salary cap because of the cap number coming in lower than anticipated and with the rise in minimum salaries under the new CBA, it’s important to remember that teams are not required to be cap-compliant until the second the new league year actually begins. Up to that point, they can be $1 billion over the cap—or any other number over—as long as they can get below it in time.
Between now and Wednesday evening, we fully expect to see a flurry of moves coming from Steelers headquarters, which will now likely prominently feature contract restructures, in addition to a possible contract extension or two, the application of the franchise tag, some releases, and likely the tendering of some restricted free agents as well.
The odds are the front office has had a plan to get all of this done relatively quickly regardless of the outcome of the CBA vote, and should have had preliminary talks with player agents, for example, about possible restructure scenarios, so this doesn’t necessarily have to take long.