This post will give a suggested blueprint on what the Steelers should do doing the offseason. I will tackle all phases including trades, the draft and free agency.
- Contract Restructures: Before Pittsburgh does anything else in the offseason, there are a few off their own players contracts that need to be redone. The most glaring one is Lawrence Timmons. Timmons cap hit is set to be 15 million in 2016. The Steelers will need to add years to his deal, without adding any new money to the contract. By doing this, Pittsburgh can reduce Timmons cap hit by up to 8-9 million next season. Other players that could be restructured are Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, and Cameron Heyward.
- Trades: As I’ve stated in an earlier post, a trade for New England’s Chandler Jones is just sitting there for the Steelers to make. Getting Jones would fill Pittsburgh’s biggest need at a time when Jones’ trade value is low. Another interesting trade candidate is Landry Jones. The Steelers do not have picks in the 5th or 6th rounds due to the trades that brought them Brandon Boykin and Josh Scobee. Could Jones get them one of those back? It’s surely worth exploring now that Landry Jones has some value.
- Free Agency: Pittsburgh never will be a “big splash” team in free agency. Don’t expect a Josh Norman, Eric Berry, or Vonn Miller type signing. What the Steelers can do is plug some holes with lesser name free agents. Getting a tight end to replace the suddenly retired Heath Miller is first on the list. Jermaine Grisham would fit nicely here. The former Bengal and Cardinal is an excellent blocker as well as a decent receiver. Next, the Steelers need to sign some veteran corners to help their secondary. Resigning William Gay will help, but more needs to be done. Patrick Robinson is coming off a good year in San Diego, and likely won’t break the bank in free agency. Robinson would be a good fit at a 2 or 3 year deal. Pittsburgh will likely pass on resigning Kelvin Beachum, but should resign Ramon Foster, Robert Golden, Steve Mclendon, and possibly Will Allen.
- The Draft: Now that the Steelers have filled the major holes through free agency, they are free to draft the best players available when it is there turn to select a player. While not a pressing need, safety is a position Pittsburgh should look to address in the first round. It just so happens that no safties are likely to go before the Steelers draft at 25. Darian Thompson from Boise St. would be a great fit in Pittsburgh. At 6-1 and 220lbs, Thompson is a physical safety who’d excel in the Steelers defensive system. Depth at corner could be addressed in the first round as well. Eli Apple from Ohio St. or Kendall Fuller from Virginia tech should be available when Pittsburgh picks. Finally, the Steelers could get a top rated guard to groom behind Ramon Foster in the first round. Joshua Garnett out of Stanford would be an excellent choice. Garnett is 6-5 and 325, and is the top guard in the draft.