The Pittsburgh Steelers now have millions of dollars at their disposal thanks to the June boost given by the earlier release of outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.
The organization already has seven of their nine draft picks under contract, with just the second- and third-round selections remaining unsigned at this point.
No doubt a large chunk of that money remaining will be reserved for working out extensions with some of the team’s core players.
The most likely initial candidates figure to be center Maurkice Pouncey and cornerback Cortez Allen, but if all goes well, even Jason Worilds and Ben Roethlisberger might see new long-term deals this summer as their contracts expire.
There should also be money left over—theoretically, of course—for a free agent signing or two, likely of the veteran-minimum variety.
But that doesn’t mean that there is a rush to get anything done. The Steelers, as a matter of fact, simply don’t have enough data at the moment to determine whether or not they would benefit much from bringing in more free agents.
The two names that everybody will focus on, of course, are outside linebacker James Harrison and defensive end Brett Keisel, both of whom spent nearly their entire careers playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.
Are they needed? Or would they be a hindrance to the development of what the Steelers are trying to do now on defense?
We have next to no data on rookie Stephon Tuitt. We’ve hardly seen Brian Arnfelt in nearly a year. And we don’t know what Cam Thomas can do as a defensive end in the Steelers’ system. So how do we know if Keisel is needed yet?
Likewise at outside linebacker. With Jason Worilds sitting out OTAs with a minor ailment, Arthur Moats has been getting plenty of valuable reps with the first-team defense.
As a result, this has also given journeyman Vic So’oto an opportunity to open some eyes as he lines up across from Chris Carter with the second-team defense. Jordan Zumwalt has already gotten work on the outside during rookie minicamp as well.
We know their names, but we must wait further before we can say that there are pieces missing along the defensive line or at outside linebacker.
The Steelers will likely wait until training camp, if at all, before considering whether or not they have the required depth at the aforementioned positions.
Maybe then we can talk about potentially taking another look at Keisel or Harrison and deciding if they would be a smart addition to the 2014 version of the Pittsburgh Steelers roster, but until we know more about the current roster, there’s no sense in talking reunions. The next time those veterans are at St. Vincent College, it could be to announce their retirements as Steelers.