The Pittsburgh Steelers have more cap space going into 2017 then they’ve had in a very long time. More then enough to get stars Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell signed to long term deals this offseason. They should also have enough left over to sign a mid level free agent at 5-7 million roughly. That’s not bad, but not nearly enough to bring in an impact edge rusher in the order of say Melvin Ingram. The former Chargers linebacker will easily command over 10 million per season. So here’s the question what would you want the Steelers to do? Would you want them to resign Bell and Brown, then try drafting an outside linebacker……..again. Or would you like them to choose to sign one of them, and throw some big money at Ingram or even Chandler Jones? We know what the Steelers probably will do. The front office never makes a big splash in free agency. They will almost certainly opt to resign their own, and attempt to draft a pass rusher. Let’s take a deeper look at the options and decide for yourself which route you’d like them to go.
OPTION 1 (THE ROONEY OPTION) – I’ve pretty much summed up this course of action already. Pittsburgh resigns Antonio Brown to a long term deal and franchises Le’veon Bell to start out with. Next, Kevin Colbert once again takes a shot at drafting a dominant edge rusher. It’s something he’s never really been able to do in his tenure as GM. Since he took over as in 2000, the only double digit sack player he has drafted is LaMarr Woodley. (James Harrison of course was an undrafted free agent) Even if he were to hit on one with the 30th pick in this years draft, how long would it take to develop into an impact player? It’s not a bad course of action to take, keep the status quo and hope Bud Dupree takes a giant leap in year three. It’s conservative, but that approach has served the Rooneys well over the years.
OPTION 2 (THE LE’VEON BELL OPTION) – In this scenario the Steelers would have to either give Bell the franchise tag, or sign him to a long term deal first off. Next they would explore a trade for Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh could really get a haul for thier pro bowl receiver. The Chargers for one might be very interested in adding a draw like Brown going into their first season in Los Angeles. How does 7th overall pick, Le’veon Bell, and say free agent Melvin Ingram all in a Steelers uniform sound for next season? One thing we know for sure Kevin Colbert can do is draft wide recievers. You’d have to like his chances drafting the next AB, versus drafting the next James Harrison.
OPTION 3 (THE ANTONIO BROWN OPTION) – This is basically the same as option 2, just flip flopping Bell and Brown. It may be harder to trade Bell given that technically he is a free agent. The Steelers obviously have the right to franchise him, and could trade that right to another team. They could even go as far as giving the other team a window of time to negotiatiate a long term deal with Bell, in order to increase his value. I could see several teams interested in Bell with decent first round picks. The Saints, Colts, and Lions all come to mind right off the bat. Might the Lions be talked into an swap for Ziggy Ansah? Throw another later draft pick, and it’s worth thinking about. The Steelers could certainly find an above average running back in the early to mid rounds of the draft. Clearly none would replace the talent level of Bell, but given his injury history and off field issues he might be the prudent one to move on from.
All three options have merit. I’d be very interested in what my readers think. Leave your choice in the comments section and I’ll post the results on Twitter some time in the future.