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: Will the players’ union elect to approve the new CBA?
While the coronavirus is doing its best to overshadow everything right now, the biggest story in the NFL on this particular day is going to be whether or not the NFLPA members opt to approve the new Collective Bargaining Agreement offer that is on the table. It could determine the relationship between the league and the union for the next 11 years.
As we’ve been discussing over the course of the last several days, whether or not it passes will have a direct and significant effect on teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, who both are close up against the cap and want to utilize the franchise tag.
You’ve probably been familiarized exhaustively with the concept of the 30 percent rule, which limits the amount of a player’s compensation for the final year of a CBA deal a team could turn into a signing bonus in order to create salary cap space.
That is one of the major hurdles for the Steelers, who want to tag Bud Dupree, but also have several unrestricted and restricted free agents that they would like to keep as well. Their ability to do this, and to avoid cutting certain veterans, will largely be determined by whether or not the 30 percent rule is going to be in effect, and how much they are wiling to restructure if it’s not.
Players have until just before midnight to cast their votes electronically. A simple majority of all union members who choose to vote is required to approve the CBA, some of the effects of which will be active immediately.