The Steelers Dominance Ending?
February 27, 2013 · 1 Comments
In Pittsburgh they are learning that all good things must come to an end and nothing lasts forever. Their defense is now one of the oldest in the league (avg 29.2 yrs old) and not getting any younger. Their once formidable duo of sackmaster outside linebackers are getting older but not any cheaper. Woodley counts 13 million plus and Harrison counts 10 million plus against their salary cap this year. Harrison has said he will restructure his contract but he will not take a pay cut.
The Steelers have ten out of 53 players on their roster right now that count over 100 million against this years salary cap. They have gotten into this situation by restructuring contracts and pushing payments out to future seasons. Now they don’t have the salary cap space to sign their youth to replace the aging veterans. Keenan Lewis is a perfect example of this he had a stellar year last year in his first year as a full time starter. Number three cornerback in the NFL against the run and never allowed a 100 yard reciever although being the 2nd most targeted corner in the NFL. But the Steelers are going to lose Lewis in free agency (probably to the Browns).
Mike Wallace is another great example of this. Wallace wanted a new contract last offseason instaed of giving it to Wallace they gave Antonio Brown a new contract. Brown is now one of the 10 player I spoke of whose salary adds up to 100 million of the Steelers salary cap space. After a less than stellar 2012 season for Brown, the Steelers may wish they had paid Wallace’s contract demands. Now they can’t afford to keep Wallace and he will go to another team in free agency (probably the Browns).
The offensive line has been the main focus with the Steelers first round picks in the last few drafts. Even though they have invested them in offensive linemen the players have had multiple injuries and thus have not been able to stay healthy for one full season together. Their inability to stay healthy has contributed to the early ending of Ben Roethlisberger’s last two seasons and probably the shortening of his career.
The Steelers have painted themselves into a corner. The youth of this team cannot be sustained due to the excessive contracts of the veterans. If they release enough players with big contracts to be able to bring in a major infusion of youth they will not have enough able bodied players to make up the gap in talent. Looks like the Steelers window is closing quickly if not closed and sooner rather than later they will be the ones who have to go back to the drawing board.
It’s time for the Steelers to pay the piper.
By J.D. Scudder