Art Rooney II Says Ike Taylor Will Be A Priority Along With Extensions
Scott Brown recently posted some comments that Art Rooney II made today in regards to the Steelers plan once the free agency period opens. Rooney told Brown, “We may have to restructure some contracts and hopefully extend some contracts, so there’s going to have to be some work done from a salary cap point of view.” Rooney also added, “Obviously we have a lot of players to sign and a lot of work to do but certainly Ike Taylor would be a priority.”
This certainly is good news as this means an extension for linebacker LaMarr Woodley is on the way and possibly even one for safety Troy Polamalu in addition. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons is also heading into the final year of his contract like Polamalu and could be a player the Steelers are looking to extend in addition.
As far as the restructure comments Rooney made, this could mean that Aaron Smith will be restructured to lower his cap number in 2011 by adding another year that would make him very releasable next offseason or they might have just have a straight salary reduction coming his way as well. Players like Ben Roethlisberger can easily have his 2011 cap number lowered by turning part of his 2011 base salary into a signing bonus and stretching it out over the remaining years on his deal. There could also be a few other players they do this with as well for immediate cap relief and not cost the players any money in the process. Contracts of players like Hines Ward and Brett Keisel might fit that mold.
The mention of Taylor specifically goes along with what the Steelers have said all along and that is that they want him back if at all possible. It is certainly going to be a fast and furious first week of the new season calendar, but it looks as if they will have no problems getting cap compliant with plenty of room left to sign a few of their own unrestricted free agents.
Although not mentioned by Rooney specifically, tackle Willie Colon, cornerback William Gay, tight end Matt Spaeth, nose tackle Chris Hoke, punter Daniel Sepulveda and running back Mewelde Moore are a few of the unrestricted free agents that the Steelers may consider re-signing in addition to Taylor.