It looks like the Steelers are indeed done with contracts for the offseason and once the season starts, no new deals are likely to be done, especially with the cloudy NFL labor situation. To the best of my calculations, the Steelers have 25 of 81 players on the final year of their current contract. I did not prioritize them below, but it is not hard to pick out those that are high profile moving forward. Those players would be: LaMarr Woodley, Ike Taylor, Jeff Reed and Daniel Sepulveda in my opinion. Dennis Dixon, Willie Colon and Trai Essex are fringe at this point. I have included a blurb on each player in a contract year below.
QB Dennis Dixon: I wrote about Dennis just last week and so much depends on how camp and preseason goes. If he can\’t beat out Byron Leftwich to start the season, you have to wonder what the Steelers think about his future with the organization. He might stand to make more money via free agency as well. We will know much more over the next 5 weeks.
RB Mewelde Moore: Mewelde should not have a problem making the roster this year, but age, numbers and youth behind him will make Moore expendable after this season.
WR Tyler Grisham: He has to worry about making the 53 man roster this year before worrying about being in a contract year. Needs to have a perfect camp and preseason with limited reps in chance of perhaps even getting back to the practice squad.
TE Matt Spaeth: Do really expect me to write much on Matt. This is it for him after this one year tender.
T Willie Colon: Perhaps the most unluckiest guy on the roster right now. Was a restricted free agent because of no CBA and his future status revolves around being restricted or unrestricted as well. his agent thinks his time with Pittsburgh is over and the Achilles injury doesn\’t help the matter.
G/T Trai Essex: Trai will have to WOW everyone at a tackle position in order to be brought back. Hard to see where he has a future here.
T Tony Hills: Is in a battle with fellow Texas alum Jonathan Scott just to make the roster this year. Has bust tatooed all over him thus far.
C/G Doug Legursky: The Big Legursky might have a shot at getting resigned next offseason should he prove he can hold the swing job of center and guard. He has an outside chance of overtaking Justin Hartwig this year in camp. Everyone knows Pouncey is the future here, but good backup centers are hard to find.
T Jonathan Scott: Signed to a one year contract for a reason. Odds are against him being any more than a backup right tackle at this point.
DE Ra\’Shon Harris: 7th rounder that slipped away to the Panthers only to return. With the defensive line aging, Sunny can play himself into another contract if he can make the 53 man roster in camp. Long shot of a future, but still has a chance.
NT Chris Hoke: Hoke will likely end his carrer in another uniform after this season. Steelers will likely draft the heir to Hampton at nose tackle next April.
LB Patrick Bailey: In a fight just to make the 53 man roster this year. Better special teams player than linebacker. End of the road for Patrick. Good thing he is getting a pilots liscense.
LB Keyaron Fox: Fox keeps proving folks wrong, but with the influx of linebackers it will be tough to stick after this season. Could play himself into a good payday from another team with a strong 2010 reserve role.
LB Andre Frazier: Much like Patrick Bailey, he must first make the 53 man squad this year. Odds and numbers are against him.
OLB LaMarr Woodley: Well documented that the 30% rule and no CBA are the reasons he does not have a new deal. It is hard to imagine the Steelers letting him walk. The new CBA will likely have some sort of tag the Steelers use on him in order to get a new deal done. Will be a bumpy ride and a big loss if indeed he is allowed to walk.
CB William Gay: On a one year tender right now and must show he can play corner or even nickel in the NFL. 2009 was hard to watch and he tends to write checks with his mouth that he can not cash on the field. Hard to imagine he will be signed again.
S Tuff Harris: 2010 camp body. No future here.
DB Anthony Madison: Special teams guy only. No future here.
S Ryan Mundy: 2010 holds the key. Needs a great year as a role player with Troy and Ryan ahead of him. Might be a guy tendered next year depending on how the CBA works out.
CB Ike Taylor: Outside of Woodley, Ike is the biggest name without attention headed into a contract year. No CBA certainly hurt things and his future might rest in the hands of Joe Burnett, Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler. As much as I would hate to see him go, it is not unthinkable right now.
KR Stefan Logan: What time does a clock strike midnight in Canada? I hope he only rented in Pittsburgh.
K Jeff Reed: Has to play under the one year tag now and will likely be allowed to test free agency next offseason. It will be hard to watch him kick in another uniform should that indeed happen. His price tag might just be too high for the Rooneys.
LS Matt Stewart: Battling veteran Greg Warren for the long snapper duties. Playing to be the first guy on speed dial should Warren tear his knee up yet again.
P Daniel Sepulveda: Needs to prove he indeed is the Robo punter. Future still cloudy right now. Punters are hard to judge year to year. Good chance he returns.
LS Greg Warren: I think you have to shoot veteran long snappers. Keeps getting injured, but keeps coming back. This might be it for him though.