Well all of the pomp and circumstance, all of the nonsense surrounding the NFL Scouting Combine, all of the speculation, is about to give way to something of substance. In just a few hours free agency will officially arrive in the NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have 11 unrestricted free agents (12 counting Greg Warren, who is already signed) plus three restricted free agents. Our Steelers 2015 Free Agent Focus has done detailed profiles on each of those. You can link to those by clicking on the player’s name.
Today we’re simply offering our Steelers 2015 free agency predictions. What follows is quite simple. Frist way say what should happen, then we follow by prediction what we think will happen.
Predictions on the Steelers 2015 Unrestricted Free Agents
Ike Taylor, cornerback
What Steelers should do: Extend Taylor an open-ended invitation to return to the South Side to retire as a Pittsburgh Steelers.
What will likely happen: Ike Taylor still thinks he can play. Perhaps he can. But he is not going to get a lot of money thrown at him.
James Harrison, outside linebacker
What Steelers should do: The Steelers should have already signed Harrison and, taking their cue from Jim Wexell, moved him to the strong side.
What will likely happen: Harrison has a strong bond with Dick LeBeau, and there’s probably a greater chance of him playing in Tennessee than in Pittsburgh.
Jason Worilds, outside linebacker
What Steelers should do: The Steelers should offer Worilds a decent, but not “break the bank” level contract.
What will likely happen: The Steelers probably have made that offer and Worilds thinks he can get more elsewhere. Have faith Steelers Nation some other team will overpay Jason Worilds.
Brice McCain, cornerback
What Steelers should do: Like Moats, the Steelers should already have his name on a contract.
What will likely happen: The Steelers want McCain back and McCain is saying all the right things about wanting back, so it should happen, still the Steelers could lose McCain the way they lost Al Woods and Jerricho Cotchery last year.
Arthur Moats, outside linebacker
What Steelers should do: The Steelers should have already resigned Arthur Moats.
What will likely happen: The Steelers want to bring Moats back, and likely will, but see above for scenario where that doesn’t happen.
Will Allen, safety
What Steelers should do: The Steelers should resign Will Allen to an at or near veteran minimum deal.
What will likely happen: The Steelers will likely bring him back, but they have no rush to do so.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, wide receiver, special teams
What Steelers should do: The Steelers should see if they can upgrade the position via the draft and/or third rung free agents.
What will likely happen: The Steelers will likely do just that.
Matt Spaeth, tight end
What Steelers should do: The Steelers should bring Spaeth back on or near a veteran minimum contract.
What will likely happen: The Steelers will look to the draft for a tight end, and they’ll do it early. They also have Rob Branchflower on their practice squad. Still, Spaeth likely returns.
Ben Tate, running back
What Steelers should do: Sign a veteran running back and/or draft a back up to Le’Veon Bell.
What will likely happen: The Steelers won’t bring Tate back unless they both cannot find and cannot draft a better one.
Michael Palmer, tight end
What Steelers should do: In a perfect world, Palmer would get another shot at landing roster spot number 48-53.
What will likely happen: The Steelers won’t sign both Palmer and Spaeth, and Spaeth is better.
Greg Warren, long snapper — signed
What Steelers should do: They already did it when they signed him.
Clifton Geathers, defensive end
What Steelers should do: What? He’s a Steelers free agent? Who is he again?
What will likely happen: There’s probably a better chance of Cam Thomas being brought back.
Predictions on the Steelers 2015 Restricted Free Agents
Antwon Blake, cornerback
What Steelers should do: Sign him to a multi-year deal.
What will likely happen: The Steelers will likely tender him and hope to sign him to a long term deal.
Will Johnson, fullback
What Steelers should do: The Steelers would be very wise to tender him, as fullbacks are in short supply in this league.
What will likely happen: The Steelers will tender him with the aim of signing him to a long term deal
Robert Golden, safety, special teams
What Steelers should do: Sign him to a multi year deal
What will likely happen: Given that Golden has a far lower profile than the other two Steelers restricted free agents, there is a chance they will not tender him, but still bring him back anyway, as they did with Stevenson Sylvester in 2013.
Predictions on the Steelers 2015 Aging Veterans
Troy Polamalu, safety
What should happen: The ideal situation is that Troy Polamalu decides its time to begin his “Life’s work” and holds a retirement press conference on the South Side with Dan Rooney, Art Rooney II, Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and heck even Bill Cowher in attendance.
What likely will happen: The Steelers can’t officially cut Polamalu until Tuesday at four, and even then they have to carry his salary on the books until June. Word is they’re giving him a chance to retire on his own.
Brett Kesiel, defensive end
What should happen: Assuming his rehab is going well and he still has the desire, the Steelers should bring him back for the final year of his contract.
What likely will happen: Word is the Steelers are waiting on word about Kesiel’s health, which is why they haven’t cut Cam Thomas. So perhaps there’s a chance he’ll be back.
This promises to be an interesting free agency season in Pittsburgh, if also a painful one. Stay tuned folks, Steel Curtain Rising will keep you up to date with all the news an analysis.