2014 Steelers Post June 1 Offseason To-Do List

With the calendar now flipping over to June, the Pittsburgh Steelers can now put the rest of their offseason plan into action thanks to them having nearly $8 million more in salary cap space with the release of linebacker LaMarr Woodley finally coming off of the books.

Here is a look at several things the Steelers might have on their to-do list between now and the start of the 2014 regular season.

Sign Top Four Draft Picks: Beginning as early as this week, the Steelers can begin signing Martavis Bryant, Dri Archer, Stephon Tuitt and Ryan Shazier. Thanks to the CBA, these deals are already pretty much slotted and pre determined so the dominos should fall quickly. Thanks to top 51 roster displacement, these four contracts should only eat up roughly $1.65 million in cap space.

Contract Extensions: The names that headline the list of players that could possibly have their contracts extended between now and the start of the regular season is not very long, but it’s not likely that all will get done. Here is a brief look at the candidates.

Cortez Allen – While he’s only started 11 games and played just less than 1,350 defensive snaps during his first three years in the league, one would think that Allen is high on the Steelers priority list to get extended during training camp. Thanks to him qualifying for the proven performance escalator, Allen is scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.431 million in 2014, so you can use that as bottom starting point for an average per year that he will want as far as an extension goes. How much is he worth per season as far as an extension goes? $2.5 million? Higher? His number should come in somewhere in that vicinity and it’s hard to see this not getting done at some point.

Maurkice Pouncey – Pouncey is coming off of a severe knee injury and when you combine that with the fact Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack just signed a five year contract worth $42 million, with $18 million fully guaranteed, you can see that the Steelers really have a big decision to make. The Florida product might also decide to bet on himself in 2014 if he feels what the Steelers offer him isn’t fair, so his situation will be a fun one to watch over the course of the next 90 days.

Jason Worilds – I have written quite a bit about Worilds’ situation over the course of the last several months and unless he’s willing to give the Steelers a pretty big discount, the team is likely best served to let him play out his one-year transition tag in order for him to show that he can improve on is 2013 performance. If he plays well, they can simply tag him again next offseason and reboot the process. If he doesn’t, at least they didn’t lock him up long term.

Ben Roethlisberger – Roethlisberger is under contract through the 2015 season, so if the two sides can’t get a new deal done this offseason, they’ll have to try again next offseason. It’s all about average yearly value of new money with Roethlisberger and it’s hard seeing him settle for anything less than $22 million per season when it comes to that. This really could go either way, but it’s starting to look like it won’t happen prior to the start of the 2014 season.

Marcus Gilbert – While he’s worth adding to this list for discussion purposes, it’s hard to make a case for Gilbert getting extended this offseason. In fact, he might be better served betting on himself in 2014 with an eye towards trying to cash in during free agency.

Veteran Additions: Unless there are any surprise cuts around the league next week that strike their fancy, the Steelers could ultimately decide to bring back defensive end Brett Keisel and linebacker James Harrison. Ideally, getting either or both signed to one-year veteran qualifying contracts that come with reduced cap hits would be the way to go. That really lowers the risk involved with each player and provides the team nothing but upside. Like or not, the team really could use the veteran leadership of both players in addition to whatever they can contribute on the field.

  • Superdriller316

    I have a feeling the Steelers are going to sign Alan Baxter.

  • Mike Frantz

    While I can’t really comment on the players specifically, I don’t know them at all, I don’t like the way people assume that “veteran leadership” is necessarily “good leadership.” Yes, I can see it being a benefit to have players around that have “done it” before, but I also think that it is time for this team to move on from the Harrison, Keisel, Ward, Foote, etc. In that vacuum we’ll see who steps up to become the new leaders. Let Heyward, Worilds, Timmons, Brown, Pouncey, etc become those guys.

  • Ahmad

    While I wouldn’t be opposed to bringing back Harrison for a one year, I don’t want Keisel back as I think the depth at DE is fine. We need to focus on getting younger not older so unless the injury bug crops up Keisel should not cone back. Yes Harrison is old too but the OLB situation is much more dire than DE.

  • kakello34

    I prefer they focus on locking up Pouncey and Allen. Having Pouncey long term reduces the impact of losing Gilbert if Adams can take over at RT, saving a good amount of money.

  • Melly

    lets kick his tires…again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s how I feel, too!

  • Jason Vancil

    I’d extend a hearty kick to Marcus Gilberts backside.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Moving on is great but I think you need a reason more than just it’s time.

    Just because veteran leadership isn’t automatically good doesn’t mean it’s time to move on from veteran leadership.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I would extend anyone willing to take a little less in exchange for added security but I’m not sure we’re dealing with players that would accept less than what they will get in FA if they have excellent 2014 seasons. I don’t think I would extend someone at that price just so they don’t leave especially since it means anything but superstar play means you lose.

    Pouncey hasn’t been healthy enough to pay as well as Mack. I would need a good deal or a full healthy season.

    Worlds obviously needs to have one good season in his career to deserve a big contract,

    Gilbert needs to earn it

    Allen needs to earn a big payday but I would sure try to get him to at least do a short deal at reasonable dollars in exchange for a nice bonus.

    Ben is a tough one. I think I would wait until next year if for no other reason than to burn off some of those prorated bonus dollars.

  • Intropy

    While talented, I think Pouncey’s hype is greater than his performance. I expect someone somewhere will overpay him. I can only hope that is not the Steelers.

  • pittsburghjoe

    I would not put Mack money into Pouncey. It would not be surprising if they let him walk and spend the money elsewhere. There is no doubt Pouncey is one of the most overrated players in the game.

  • Nolrog

    They also need some money to fill out their roster (we are working under 51, but the full roster is what, 53, 55? Plus they will leave some free to pick up a guy during the season because of an injury (like what they did last year with Velasco.) I am not sure that I would sign Pouncey long term. He gets injured too often and he is likely going to want a huge chunk of change. We may be better served with Velasco and then using the balance of the money elsewhere (like on DeCastro).

  • Mike Frantz

    I agree, but you often see veteran = leadership without acknowledging that there is a possibility that that it might not be positive leadership or that it might be causing younger players to be deferential when you want them to assert their own personality. It’s not that simple….nor is at as simple as “ditch the old guys.” I’m simply tired of the assumption that veterans are always good leaders.

  • RW

    Also, it’s hard to really put value on the center position, particularly when said center gets hurt. It’d be great if they could lock him up, but not at any rate that’d be detrimental to a more important position.

  • steelster

    pouuncey is the most over rated steeler.

  • Matthew Anderson

    Important to note Pouncey’s cap hit is high because he is in last couple years of old cba. Even a reasonable raise in the long term may reduce his cap hit in the short term. Just a thought but I am sure Dave could offer more insight as he knows the cap like The Sheik knows twitter.

  • Louis Goetz

    How is a guy that everyone is constantly bashing overrated? I don’t understand how/why people can criticize Pouncey’s play and not bring ANYTHING to the table to support the knocks. How many sacks has he given up? How often is he called for holding? How many plays is he caught taking off? How many false starts? How many botched C/QB exchanges? If you want something there’s no doubt about, it’s that Pouncey has been the most consistent and best player on the offensive line. When other Steelers players haven’t been injuring him he’s racked up three straight Pro Bowl and All-Pro seasons. People love to knock players who make the Pro Bowl, claiming it means nothing, but All-Pro? In his rookie year he was 2nd team All-Pro (AP). In 2011 he was 1st team All-Pro (AP & Writers). In 2012 he was 1st team All-Pro (Sporting News) and 2nd team All-Pro (AP & Writers). HIs 2013 season was cut short after 8 plays. I just don’t get it. Aside from wearing a stupid hat about Aaron Hernandez, what has he done or failed to do that makes him overrated?

  • Louis Goetz

    Let’s just hope that DeCastro doesn’t take out Velasco’s knee like he did Pouncey’s or else we’ll be calling him injury-prone, too. Although the Steelers chose Cody Wallace over Velasco so it looks like the unemployed former Steelers will be safe.

  • nicolaisim

    Couldn’t disagree more. Its funny how one year away from the field and people forget prior seasons. He’s one of my favorite players and I think he’s going to kill it..

  • Louis Goetz

    Depending on which cap site you subscribe to, Pouncey’s cap number is either $5,514,000 or $5,439,000 (there seems to be confusion about how much of a roster bonus he got at the beginning of the new NFL year). Since roughly $4.2M of that is on the books no matter what, a contract extension for Pouncey probably won’t save the Steelers any cap space this season. plus, he’s coming off of an ACL injury, which usually doesn’t hurt lineman as much as it does skill players, but it still might slow him a bit, and maybe just enough that if the Steelers wait they won’t have to pay him as close to the ridiculous offer that Jacksonville made to Alex Mac – who can’t hold Pouncey’s jock.

  • shawn

    I agree with Mike … sometimes … “Its Time” is the best reason !

  • shawn

    Allen doesnt need to earn anything …. thats a sure fire way for us to lose several million … I see no chance of him signing for 2.5 mil … thats ridiculous for both sides … i think a fair deal for him (Current Situation) and a future steal for us is more like a 4 mil/yr locked up for 5+ yrs … thats a good deal for both sides unless he wants to bet on himself … which i would if i was him ..

    Gilbert definitely needs to perform before earning another contract …

    Ben should and needs to be locked up through 2018 at some point …

    Pouncey is all about how much he will take … if its fair 5-6 mil half+ guaranteed id lock him up ( i.e 5yr/27-30 mil ) 17/18 mil guaranteed … if he wants Mack money i would consider letting him walk

    Jason Worilds situation is just awful … to keep tagging him is not an acceptable answer … the FO should make it clear to him he can either accept a reasonable deal or the future is the curb …

  • joed32

    If he plays well he would choose the curb, more money.

  • shawn

    I’m obviously talking about a deal before the season … of course if there is no deal his play will dictate everything !

  • Ryan

    Lol Bleacher Report? Id trust The Onion before I trust Bleacher Report

  • Zach

    Just an example…you won’t find any analyst or scout who rated Pouncey as a top-5 center in 2011 or 2012. Matt Miller writes great stuff btw.