Art Rooney II Says Steelers Will Have Their Eyes Open During Free Agency

If you believe the recent reports that the 2014 salary cap number could come in at $130 million or higher, than you should know how well that plays into the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Team president Art Rooney II has heard those same reports, but he’s not ready to start planning around that potential boost.

“At the moment it’s a little hard to react to it because it’s nothing official and it really would be significantly a bigger bump than what we have been led to believe it’s going to be,” Rooney said in a Saturday morning interview from 2014 NFL Combine in Indianapolis on 970 ESPN. “So I’m not sure at this moment that we can rely on that.

“It’s something that if it happens, obviously we can use a little more room, but I don’t know if it’s something right now that we’re planning to rely on. We just have to wait and see what happens with it and we’re proceeding pretty much according to plan that we had in terms of the original estimate and if it turns out to be that we have a little more room, that’s great.”

Depending on what recent projected salary cap number for 2014 you want to use, the Steelers are currently roughly anywhere from $7 to $9 million over the cap. That’s not a bad position to be in when you look at some of the business that’s expected to be done from now until the start of the new league year.

During his Saturday morning interview, Rooney did say the process of getting cap compliant is well underway right now and that they’ve already talked to agents of players currently under contract about restructuring their contracts. It’s not hard to figure out that wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Lawrence Timmons are the two candidates for typical restructures and by doing both to the full amount it would clear nearly $8 million in salary cap space.

In addition, Rooney also said they’re talking to agents of their soon-to-be free agents they would like to retain and that there’s also a possibility they could be players in free agency.

“We’ll have our eyes open to see if there’s somebody that can come in and help us get better,” said Rooney. “There’s always interesting prospects out there in terms of the unrestricted market. There’s certainly some areas we’re going to try to address this offseason.”

  • cp72

    Yes finally! I will always be a firm believer in building through the draft, but you can fill holes quickly through free agency.

    It pains me to say this but the Patriots do a great job of balancing the talent coming in from the draft and adding pieces in free agency.

  • Melly

    I think NE has whiffed in the draft the past 5-6yrs. A lot of their Def picks haven’t panned out(espec in the secondary). They do a lot of moving around and seem to acquire more picks than most?! I do wish Pitt would be more “creative” in the draft and acquire some extra picks.
    I think most are in agreement that they need to be more active in FA?!

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    If we can go after and pay at least one top tier free agents and 2 to 3 second tier FA’S that can come in and start in key positions where we are lacking and fill in the rest with another great draft we can forget the steel curtain we can rebuild a power house on offense and defense

  • Rob H

    Whoa, you might be getting a little carried away there! I think 2 maybe 3 second tier guys that can fill some of the holes on defense while the young guys from this and last years draft develop is realistic. I doubt they go after any of the top tier guys, and I don’t really think they should, let the other teams overspend for them.

  • dkoy85

    Only top tier guys I’d like to see them go after is safety. Somebody we can have on the team for years to come like we did with Clark. That way we can focus on CB in the draft and not have to worry about safety for another couple years.

  • Rob H

    I completely agree that FS should be their top priority in free agency, but remember that Clark was at best a mid level free agent, I personally didn’t know a thing about him when they first signed him. They identified a starting quality guy who fit what they needed at that time, which was someone versatile enough to play off of Troy’s freelancing. Now they need a solid tackler with ball skills and coverage ability, and there’s a few guys available that can do that, without them having to outbid one of the teams with a ton of cap room.

  • Nolrog

    They could bring in a good solid guy that’s maybe not the top at his position but can be a solid contributor (especially at safety or corner). That would reduce the number of holes we need to fill in the draft. So I like that idea cp.

  • Brian Miller

    We need to shore up at least one defensive position before the draft in FA, and I agree that the S position is probably the easiest one to do that, just like we did with Clark. He was a quiet signing that no one talked about, and I think with as many CB and S that will be available in FA, we have a good shot to sign a good starter for a year or 2. Then hopefully we draft another S stud to groom. Calvin Pryor anyone??

  • Shannon Stephenson

    We need to remember that if the cap is moved that high it gives other teams with more money then us even more where they can overpay for guys as well.

  • Steve

    With the write up on Pryor today, watching film etc of him, a better choice is HaHa.

  • shawn

    Yes they do … they are not afraid to pick up people in FA .. I’m all for building in the draft but it doesnt hurt to fill a hole or 2 when the need arises with FA especially when you have about 5-6 holes to fill !