Today, a story broke about the possibility of injured Pittsburgh Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall possibly already taking his last snap in the Black and Gold. While that would be a bit of a surprise, it would not shock anyone either. One quick glance at the team’s roster in comparison to last year’s opening day roster demonstrates just how much of an overhaul the Steelers are going through this offseason. In all, only 39 players are under contract from that group (including the six restricted free agents and Mendenhall).
Armed with that knowledge, it is time for the post free agency blitz, pre-draft look at the roster and see just how much work the front office has in front of them. Today, the overview will be of the offense, where only 14 veterans return.
At quarterback, only one player remains. Yes, the Steelers will have Ben Roethlisberger back in the fold, but behind him, it is a mystery. The front office has stated they want to bring back either QB Charlie Batch or Byron Leftwich, but with limited funds, who knows if it can get done. QB Dennis Dixon, who was on the team last season, will most likely leave as an unrestricted free agent. The team did bring in a couple quarterbacks on futures contracts, including former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, but it is unclear what their future may hold.
Running Back may not be quite in the same dilemma, and honestly, even with the Mendenhall injury, it may have the most stability on offense. In all, three experienced (albeit minimally experienced) backs will return in Isaac Redman, John Clay and Jonathan Dwyer. Behind them, RB Baron Batch is expected to return from his training camp injury and provide a third down option, but it is unknown what his impact will be as he has never taken an NFL snap.
At Tight End, all three return (or should return) for another season. Heath Miller looks to return to a more prominent role and last years rookie surprise Weslye Saunders should provide some depth once he returns from the four-game suspension to start the season. David Johnson, who is a restricted free agent, should return to his Fullback / H-Back role.
There has been a huge changing of the guard at wide receiver, where half of last years six members are gone. The great Hines Ward was released and then retired, Jericho Cotchery is an unrestricted free agent and is making his rounds and Arnaz Battle was released, leaving Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and restricted free agent Mike Wallace as the only returning members of the receiving corps. To top it off, there is still an outside chance a team makes run at Wallace, complicating matters even more.
The offensive line is facing a similar situation, with only four starters returning (with two restricted free agents in that grouping). Throw in OT Willie Colon, and there you have all of the offensive linemen with game experience from last season. Gone (or possibly gone) are unrestricted free agents Max Starks (ACL), Trai Essex, Chris Kemoeatu and reserve Jamon Meredith.
Yes, this looks bad, but what is even worse is the thought that the Steelers have little to no cap room available to even make a run at low-level free agents this offseason. A fact and reality that should keep General Manager Kevin Colbert busy pulling extra hours in preparation for the draft, and possibly trading around to gain more picks in the draft. If he does not, there is a possibility that the Steelers will have a problem staffing a full roster in 2012.
Related VideosReturning Soon!!!!
No related posts.
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/by4