Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert will be Indianapolis next week for the scouting combine, but sat down Wednesday with several members of the local media to answer questions pertaining to the team prior to leaving. Below are a few of the talking points that Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest passed along on Twitter.
As far as the 2014 draft class goes, Colbert reportedly said it's in his opinion that it's as deep across the board as he's seen in 30 years. That's certainly encouraging to hear when you consider that there are a lot of holes, especially on defense, that need to be filled.
With the 2014 status of outside linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds currently up in the air right now, Colbert was asked if there is a possibility that both could be retained. From a cap standpoint, Colbert reportedly said that he didn't see that as being an issue, however, he did admit that Woodley's durability issues are a concern as he's missed 14 games over the course of the last three seasons. In addition, he said he doubts the team will use either the franchise tag or the transition tag on any of their unrestricted free agents this offseason, but that they will indeed be trying hard to re-sign a few of them.
Prior to the new league year beginning in March, Colbert said they had work to do in order to get underneath the salary cap and that a few terminations, extensions and restructures might take place prior to then. It's not hard to figure who he is talking about as both Antonio Brown and Lawrence Timmons could be restructure candidates, while Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Cortez Allen and perhaps even Maurkice Pouncey could see their contracts extended. As far as terminations go, Woodley, Levi Brown and Ike Taylor would all fit the bill, although Colbert, as usual, didn't name any specific players. In addition, Colbert didn't rule out the possibility of a few players taking pay cuts and this certainly isn't a surprise.
As far as the future of linebacker Sean Spence goes, Colbert reportedly said that while he's still in the mix of things, it would be naive for him to say he's over the hump as far as his rehab goes. Spence of course hasn't played since tearing up his knee during the preseason of his rookie season. He is expected to be in training camp this year.
The Steelers added former linebacker Joey Porter to their coaching staff on Tuesday as a defensive assistant and Colbert expects that Jarvis Jones will benefit from that. Porter made a difference in his one season as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater Colorado State.
I will add more talking points in a little and make sure you follow Bouchette and Labriola on Twitter for their updates and links to stories.