The Pittsburgh Steelers were very busy last week as it was announced that wide receiver Hines Ward, defensive end Aaron Smith, linebacker James Farrior and guard Chris Kemoeatu were all having their contracts terminated and would not be back with the team in 2012.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin sat down with Bob Labriola today for a live interview on steelers.com and after Labriola talked about the releases of Ward, Smith and Farrior last week, he asked Colbert if he was done with the cuts now. Colbert replied, “For the time being. We get into March 13th is the deadline. We feel good about where we are from a cap standpoint, but things can change real quick as we move into free agency. We still don\’t have a final cap number, so what we are projecting to be the cap number may or may not be and we still may have to make another move prior to free agency starting, but once we get into free agency, then it\’s always a plus and minus, or could be, if we decide to add from the outside”
Labriola then asked about the current situation with restricted free agent Mike Wallace as it relates to the franchise tag and if they would use it this year. Colbert replied, “No, no we are not. This is one year, it\’s always an option to us, but we decided not to.” When asked specifically why not, Colbert answered, “Just because that\’s where we are from a cap standpoint. I mean obviously when you use a franchise tag at whatever position it is, its significant dollars that you have to account for and in our current cap situation, we just don\’t have that type of room.”
When asked about the risk that the team is taking by letting Wallace hit free agency with only a first round tender on him, Colbert said, “Really there\’s no choice. I mean we have, I mean Mike would get an offer that would predicate a team having to give us a first round pick if he signed with them and we chose not to match it. So we understand that there could be offers that come in. Mike\’s a significant player, but ultimately it\’s our decision whether or not we are going to match and offer. So we still have control over the situation and even though he could get offers from the outside, ultimately we will make a decision on whether or not Mike\’s going to be a Steeler or not.”