Ike Taylor was a top corner for a long time but his deterioration happened over night. He’s no longer a shutdown guy and is not worth upwards of 12 million dollars. 2013 should have showed the team that it’s time to move on. His position must be filled by Cortez Allen or even by someone currently coming out of college.
Brett Keisel is a legend for his play and his beard. He’s a free agent and much like Casey Hampton a couple years back, it’s time to say goodbye. He can no longer stay healthy and since this team is as far away as they are, he’s not a guy that will add any value. He won’t be a part of this team when it’s ready to make a championship run. His spot needs to go to a young player, which may mean re-signing Ziggy Hood or drafting a guy out of college.
LaMarr Woodley costs way too much money as well. He’s failed to produce numbers for nearly three years now and when he’s on the field, it’s for short stints because he can’t stay healthy. He must go and the team must use that money to bring back emerging star Jason Worilds. Worilds has to be the teams’ top priority this offseason; there are no ifs ands or buts about that.
Larry Foote missed all of 2013 and rookie Vince Williams ended up taking his role. It’s time to admit that Foote is no longer part of the winning formula in Pittsburgh and let him go. That position is filled by Williams.
Ryan Clark is a free agent and while he has still put up some very gaudy numbers, his age makes him expendable. He’ll cost too much and it’s time to let Shamarko Thomas get more playing time.
Troy Polamalu needs to take a pay cut. He’s in the last year of his contract and is still putting up good numbers but is no longer the same player. They should keep him but at a reduced number, otherwise they may have to consider his release. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.
Not only does the team need to realize who they must part ways from but they must realize who they need to keep. Aside from Worilds and potentially Ziggy Hood, the team should try to bring back Jerricho Cotchery. He had a phenomenal season and since it appears the Steelers will not pay Emmanuel Sanders, Cotchery becomes a must sign.
Jonathan Dwyer is a guy that should be brought back too. He’s a very solid back up and brings a lot of fire and energy to the team. He runs hard and can get the tough yards. They can’t let him play elsewhere.
On the O line it would behoove the Steelers to retain Fernando Velasco and Cody Wallace. Both played very well at center and with the return of Maurkice Pouncey coming next fall, these guys could prove to be very valuable on the line as well as serve as proven backups for Pouncey in the event he gets injured again.
It’s never easy to walk away from guys who have provided you with so much, who have given their heart and soul to the team and are so loved by fans; however, in order to have that type of run again, it’s something that must be done.
The team failed to realize it in 2012 and because of that they fell a year behind when they wasted 2013. The Steelers hopefully learned that they are not a team in transition, but a team who must re build and re tool. 2013 should have provided that information pretty clearly.