Several Potential Cuts Could Have Steelers’ Attention

Every year, the salary cap purge takes it’s toll prior to the start of free agency. The NFL is a “what have you done for me” league. It’s a business, and oftentimes, can be an emotional one, as fan favorites and beloved teammates are kicked to the curb, with the excitement and play making ability they brought to the team simply forgotten. The past few years in Pittsburgh have been a prime example, as the writing was on the wall for veterans James Farrior, Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, and even last year, James Harrison and Brett Keisel. Although Harrison and Keisel were brought back,  this year could be no different, with Ike Taylor, Keisel, Harrison and iconic Troy Polamalu the next in-line to be gone for good. With Polamalu’s high 2015 cap figure, coupled with his decline in play, a paycut might be demanded or a cut outright will be likely. Teams league wide will be trimming the fat to comply with the cap, and after their yearly maneuvering with cuts, extensions, etc. the Steelers should have some wiggle room with it comes to spending flexibility. Here are a few names of veterans across the league who may be cut, and find themselves targets of the black and gold.

Tamba HaliKansas City Chiefs

The team might as well back the Brinks truck up to pass rush extraordinaire Justin Houston‘s driveway, because if they don’t, someone else will. In a pass happy league, the superstar outside linebacker recorded a league-leading 22 sacks, proving to be the most feared defender this side of J.J. Watt. After recording only 6 sacks, his lowest output since ’08, the 31-year old would save the team $9 million, a hefty sum, considering the team also spent it’s first-rounder on Dee Ford in the ’14 draft. At only 31, it’s fair to argue he could have more left in the tank than a 37-year old Harrison might. Also, he played his college ball right here in the Keystone State. If the price is right, I could see the front office kicking the tires on Hali.

Trent ColePhiladelphia Eagles

Having extensive experience in a 3-4 already, and showing success at it with 8 sacks in ’13 and 6 and-a-half more in ’14, Cole has shown, even at 32 he can still get after the quarterback. But with a $10 million base in 2015, plus impending free agent Brandon Graham, another possible Steelers’ target, the writing could be on the wall for Cole. A side note, the team also drafted Louisville’s Marcus Smith in the first round last year, and although he didn’t really show much, that could’ve spoke more to the team’s deep rotation at outside linebacker than anything else. Instead of overpaying a player in decline, the Eagles will likely ask him for a paycut. If let go, he would be a nice stop-gap player until the Steelers resolve their issues at outside linebacker, most likely through the draft.

Phil TaylorCleveland Browns

Taylor struggled to stay healthy last season, and it could be a major reason why teams ran roughshod over the Browns’ defense all year. Armed with two top-20 first round picks this year, the Browns may look to bolster their defensive line, and an obvious choice will be Danny Shelton, whom some call the next Haloti Ngata. With a $5.5 million cap-hit, the team could let the 6-foot-3, 335-pound mammoth walk, and at only 27 years of age next season, he would add some major versatility to the Steelers’ defensive line. Like Hali, Taylor also played his college ball at nearby Penn State, before transferring to Baylor. He could be the long-term answer at nose tackle, with Steve McLendon entering his final contract year.

Reggie BushDetroit Lions

Although absolutely electrifying at times, Bush hasn’t been able to remain entirely healthy, as evidenced last season. If the team waits until after June 1, it can save $3.5 million by dumping him, and he would make an ideal tandem pairing as the lightning component to Le’Veon Bell‘s thunder. His superb hands make him attractive as well to a Pittsburgh offense ready to explode. He has also proved before his capability of being a bell-cow, but that wouldn’t be necessary except for Bell’s forthcoming suspension, whether it be one or two games.

Ahmad BrooksSan Francisco 49ers

The former All-Pro lashed out at former defensive line coach and now head coach Jim Tomsula last season, and was benched. Could this come back to haunt him? With stud rusher Aldon Smith due back for his first full season since 2013, coupled with the promising play of outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, Brooks could become expendable. At 6-foot-3 and 259 pounds, he is big enough to hold his own defending the run but has proved time and time again he can get to the passer too. At only 30 years of age, he would be a nice stopgap if the team opts to prioritize secondary high in the draft, and settle for raw but gifted pass rushers later.

  • sean mcmartin

    Too bad these players will want more than league minimum. The Steelers want cheap players , not good players. Mitchell, cam, blunt.

  • 20Stoney

    Not sure I’d call Mitchell cheap.

  • Steel PAul

    Farrior and Clark worked out pretty well. Been awhile tho..

  • solemnity SMF

    Olny one on that list is tamba Hali but man not sure want to pay that plus we’ve been boned before u know?

  • Toddy Bravo

    You’re right. The Steelers method of building via the draft instead of FA sucks. What’s it gotten us besides 6 measly Lombardi Trophies?

  • Michelob

    Hoping they go after Brandon Graham if the price is right

  • JohnB

    give me Taylor or Cole.

  • Zumwalt Fan Club

    Trent Cole, thats all I like on the list, along with Bush. Brooks caused issues in SF..why would the Steelers want that in their locker room?

  • Zumwalt Fan Club

    2 SBs in what, like almost 40 yrs?..as a Steelers fan, i hate when other fans bring up 6 SBs..4 happened in a totally different era. 2 SBs since the late 70s is awful man. Dont be such a homer.

  • JohnB

    compared to other teams in the league, that’s pretty good.

  • Grandmaster Fistage

    I’m also not sure if I would call Mitchell “not good”. I think he is going to be a long-term fixture in the secondary and will prove to be a quality addition after he settles in

  • Paddy

    Trent Cole has always impressed me.

  • Paul Garvin Kuhns

    Okay 2 in the last 15 years so tied for second best oh how terrible..

  • JohnB

    THE best, if you don’t count cheating. 😉

  • Zumwalt Fan Club

    To try to say that the Steeler way is the blue print in free agency because of 6 SBs, 4 of which came before many of us were born, shows nothing but homerism. The NFL was different back then, and obviously so was the salary cap and free agency. Im a Steeler fan, but I cant stand that. The Steelers philosophy in free agency needs to change a bit, because they havent found quite as many gems in drafts recently as they did 10-15 yrs ago..and that has created quite a few holes. And the way they resign aging, non effective vets, has caused issues as well.

  • Toddy Bravo

    Gee, you sound more like a troll than a Steelers’ fan. Now that would be pathetic, wouldn’t it?

    Ok, 3 AFC Titles and 2 Lombardis from 2005 to present. Is that recent enough for ya? Now, go search how many other teams have been at least that successful in the same time span. It shouldn’t take very long, hot shot. Of course, if you must go troll elsewhere, we’d understand.

  • cp72

    I think Reggie Bush is very interesting. He’s not a number one back, but he would be an ideal compliment LeVeon. He also can help out in the run game.

  • Zumwalt Fan Club

    Ok that works..3 AFC championships in 10 yrs..lets use that instead of 6 SBs..thats more relevant. And cause I called you out im a troll? My name isnt Manziel’s Fan Club..or Flacco’s Fan Club…obviously Im a Steelers fan but I HATE when fans try to use the SB rings, 4 from 35 plus yrs ago, as a blue print to recent success.

  • Matt Manzo

    These are all names I would’ve drooled over 5 years ago!
    I’d be fine with picking up one of em, two if we took Taylor and an OLB!
    Stopgap is the perfect word, and with all of em at 30/31 years old, they’d fit that role perfectly.
    They all have NFL experience and none of them smell like Cam Thomas! Maybe Ahmad Brooks? But I’m not gonna be mad at someone who got upset by the 9ers staff! That organization is like a living soap opera!
    I thought for sure that Harrison would stay, but now it sounds like he’d have a easier time starting in TENN? If he leaves we definitely have to pick up a solid OLB FA. And if we’re not in play for Sheard or McPhee, I’d be happy with these guys.

  • steelster

    Think of it the other way around. About 4 or 5 teams have never even been in a super bowl. Think about the city of Cleveland. The 3 professional sports teams that they have, haven’t won a championship in over 40 years. Talk about depressing.

  • steelster

    I would rather have them bring in a big rb. The steelers already have a small back in archer. I can’t see bush running the ball 20 times a game in the first 2 games of 2015.

  • Matt Manzo

    Karlos Williams!!!!!!

  • Matt Manzo

    Yeah! I don’t know how those teams’ fans do it?!
    And I count SB losses, too! We could’ve won the Dallas and GB ones!
    That’s 8 SBs in 45 years! More than one a decade!

  • JohnB

    Yeah but its not just about Superbowls, necessarily. This team, minus the past two years, is ALWAYS in contention and is consistently seen as one of the top teams in the AFC. The model that you’ve seen us use over the decades has been good for us. And hitting the free agency doesn’t always guarantee success as last years FA showed..

  • cp72

    I don’t know in this zone scheme if big backs are as effective.

  • puCrepeaP

    Honestly very few franchises have had success in every decade since in the Super Bowl Era. I think besides the early 60s and later 80s the Steelers have been Super Bowl contenders every single decade. Always in the playoff talk, NEVER with a losing record. They don’t have to be the be all in today’s NFL, but the franchise isn’t far from being the model franchise.

  • puCrepeaP

    I don’t think Bush is going to be a viable option, but I do like the idea of a seemless transition between Bell and RB2. As we saw against the Ravens, without that pass catching ability of the RB, Ben tends to struggle.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Not that he’s not good, he’s playing at wrong position. Eventually they will need to choose between Shamarko and Mitchell at strong safety position unless Mitchell magically turn into Chris hope 2.0

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Would be a cool project though, he’s a bowling ball. Seem to have more game IQ compared to Frank Summer. Yes… him.

  • Leon Mcnair

    it is,about the Superbowl nothing else matfers

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Yep, the fact Moore’s pass catching in 09′ was so valuable he helped us get through without a running game

  • Ike Evans

    I just perked up reading this list… Wow… Outside of Bush I would have 0 issues bringin any of these vets in for the right price…. These are good vets not cam Thomas vets

  • Anthony Tudi

    Can you imagine a backfield with a healthy Reggie Bush and a healthy LeVeon Bell?? Wow

  • Anthony Tudi

    Are the Chiefs really considering cutting Tamba Hali tho

  • Ike Evans

    Homerism? Are u even from Pittsburgh or are u from Idaho or something?

  • Mister Wirez

    1. Let Worilds and Ike Taylor walk and restucture/retire Troy.

    2. Sign James Harrison (stopgap), Moats, McCain and Blake.

    3. Sign Pernell Mcphee or other stud pass rusher (if possible).

    4. Sign a FA-CB.

    5. Draft another OLB/ DE, CB, TE, RB and S.

    6. No scenario will be perfect, so what the hell…

  • Zumwalt Fan Club

    PA born and raised.

  • R Edwards

    Hali is the only guy on that list that would interest me. Taylor doesn’t always show up and play. I never liked Bush, and his price tag will be higher than we should spend on a backup RB. Not to mention, he probably wouldn’t be interested in the few carries he would get after the first two games.

  • JNick

    Honestly any of the defensive players would be great. I think the reality of this year is to get the best out of a hybrid front for the defense. The likelihood of them having 2 good OLBs to pressure is low. They are going to need solid role players across that front – and as many as they can afford to carry.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Why not bush? Even though I think we probably can’t afford him I’m just curious as to why and if you had another rb in mind

  • JohnB

    well then you must be a very unhappy fan.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Expect Shamarko and Mitchell to switch positions and duties. Mitchell will go to Troy’s position because that’s what he did in Carolina. Shamarko has more speed and better coverage ability than Mitchell so expect him to take center field duties.

  • Orlysteel

    Most of those Lombardys came before free agency existed and the other two a few free agents were instrumental in their success, mainly Farrior, Hartings and Clark.

  • marcus

    FA to get is Brandon graham OLB to take Jason Worilds place,Phil Taylor NT to backup shade tree, Buster Skrine FS. Move Mike Mitchell to SS Draft for our other needs. Do this and our Defense is solid and dangerous.

  • thomas hmmmm

    The only player here worth signing is Taylor. Who might be a bargain since he has only played two full seasons. Only playing 8 games one season and 5 last season. As far as the OLB’s they might as well sign Harrison back at a cheaper price than sign any of those OLB’s.

  • Orlysteel

    Bring out the Brinks truck and sign Houston.

  • Steve

    Let us not forget The Bus and Kevin Green who were both FA.

  • RMSteeler

    Wait. Wait. Wait. The lowest hanging fruit are being cut loose first. With this list of names on the other side of the fence, it don’t look so green. More like old bananas. Keep Harrison, Moats. The better fruit is nearer the top of the tree and it won’t be shaken out until after the start of FA, the draft, or roster bonus time.

  • Brian Tollini

    I tried really hard picturing Reggie Bush in Black & Gold……..couldn’t do it. It was like picturing Beyoncé in a country video.

  • Orlysteel

    The bus came via trade Steve .

  • Ike Evans

    I think reggie is gassed… They were playing joique and third string guys toward the end of the year… Whether he’s too old or all the injuries caught up to him… Im not sure but I think he’s over.

  • Terrible Towlie

    there was no salary cap or free agency then, not till early 90s was there true free agency and even later for salary cap

  • Terrible Towlie

    your name only says you’re a fan of a player and one who didn’t even play

  • Terrible Towlie

    almost made it in 89, got hosed on a call that set up a Denver fg right before half(no replay) and ended up losing 24-22…..Hoge had a hell of a game

  • Terrible Towlie

    Sheard and McPhee are also useful in a 4-3

  • Craig M

    Ah, but they came after app. 40 years of losing.

  • Craig M

    That all was designed to play out pretty much that way due to the creation of parity, by Pete Rozelle- but the Steelers kind of upset that apple cart.

  • Craig M

    Just think if we had gotten Marino and not cut Unitas.

  • Craig M

    Ike, thanks for the chuckle. 🙂

  • Craig M

    The Steeler success is and has been due to the ownership! Old man Rooney was the tops.

  • Craig M

    And the old Cardinals won in around 28 (by cheating) and haven’t won the big one since- stole it from the Pottsville Maroons.

  • Craig M

    Cowher should have taken us to the SB his last year but he played a busted, smashed Ben and couldn’t win 1 game in the last 5 of the season- and we had a great Def. then.

  • Craig M

    I like the idea of Bush.

  • Craig M

    Was that on Moore, Ben, Tomlin or the OC?

  • Jeff Burton

    Mitchell played all year with an injury he hid from the coaches. While that doesn’t make him the smartest player, he should be a much healthier player this year, so we should get a better idea of his talent.

  • Zach

    I’d rather put another transition tag on Worilds, re-sign Moats and Harrison, and go after another FA running back.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Who would you want the Steelers to bring in to back up bell

  • Leon Mcnair

    not un happy but thats all that matters is winning the SB, making playoffs every year means nothing, if you dont have that ring it dont mean a thing thats facts

  • JohnB

    well we have more than anyone. that’s facts.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    That’s quite possible also, admittedly, I like Shamarko best as a Mike LB but he could play free safety yeah.

  • Leon Mcnair

    No let worilds,walk he’s,not worth anythjng more t and 3 mill

  • Leon Mcnair

    Skrine is a CB

  • Leon Mcnair

    No

  • The GreekGeek

    Hali is a decent consolation prize if the OLB market gets too steep. If Worilds goes, then my list would be McPhee/ B Graham (1a/1b), then second tier guys like Hali/Sheerd (sp?).

    Reggie Bush would be a nice pickup if the price of RB stays low. Him or Williams. 2 games and a handful of carries for injury prone guys with high upside (this year), I think is reasonable.

  • Leon Mcnair

    He’s,trash and always been trash the man couldn’t even start for the sorry saints let him go that way

  • Leon Mcnair

    True

  • Leon Mcnair

    That’s facts but this is a what have you done for me lately league as Steelers fans we tend to live in the past a lot

  • marcus

    I read it on one sites as having him as a FS, they could be wrong but either way he will be an upgrade to our secondary. agree.

  • Ike Evans

    I think first off we draft his running mate… Later rounds… Cameron artis Payne, buck Allen…. Maybe even Duke Johnson or train coleman if they drop down. The running back crop in free agency but it just depends on how much they are going spend. If you’re going to pay reggie… Might as well pay spiller… Does the same stuff but better, younger…. Same price because of injuries maybe slightly more… Mark Ingram I would like but he’s going to cost too much… I dont think they are putting that much money into a backup rb so you gotta look at guys like Bobby rainy… Antone Smith…. Home run hitters that are cheap

  • JohnB

    we are one of the last three AFC teams to win a super bowl. there is not only one good team in the league. sorry. not buying your cynicism

  • Matt Manzo

    I can’t decide which one I like most? They seem pretty similar. Kinda lean towards Sheard cuz he’s from Pitt, but it’d be nice to steal McPhee from the ravens, too! I guess I’d take whoevers faster?

  • Krankor

    I’m sorry, that’s not correct, but thank you for playing. Regardless of where one stands on the Pottsville controversy– which was in ’25, not ’28– the fact is that the Cardinals last won an NFL championship in 1947.

  • Craig M

    47? Thank you, I did not know that.

  • Colbert and Tomlin have to do a better job for sure in the FA market this year than last with S-Mitchell, DE-Cam Thomas and WR-Lance Moore. Ugh!