The Steelers are currently sitting on just over $20m in cap space and should considering making a move before training camp opens up. After the not very shocking news of franchise QB Ben Roethlisberger the Steelers continue to spend. Coach Mike Tomlin has never had below a .500 win season in his 14 years as head coach and I would not bet on that streak ending this year. The Steelers are a proud historic franchise and do not turn to rebuild mode, rather retool and relocation of their assets to put a formidable product on the field each year, always keeping them in playoff contention. With this new relocation of assets the Steelers find themselves with the highest paid defense in the NFL and second lowest paid offense (mostly do to many still being on rookie contracts). However even after making TJ Watt the highest paid defensive player in the NFL (for a short while due to Aaron Donald’s monster contract) and paying elite FS Minkah Fitzpatrick top dollar, losses of Roethlisberger and now Stephon Tuitt have freed up some much needed money. So where exactly should this money go? Here’s my take!
Anthony Barr OLB/MLB
Former Defensive Captain for the Minnesota Vikings has been a game wrecker throughout his career. Although getting older and coming off of a knee injury Barr proved last year he can still provide a spark for the defense whether getting after opposing QBs and RBs or dropping into coverage. Barr had a career high 3 interceptions despite missing 6 games last year. He has not played a full season since 2017 but he wont be asked to be an every down player on this team, lets face it TJ Watt is a monster and gamechanger but he’s human and needs to rest at times to be his dominant self. Despite how the Melvin Ingram situation worked out last year I believe this situation could be different as Barr would accept a role to play alongside what could be another historically dominant Steelers defense, he also is a 2022 nominee for ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Award which would help provide great leadership for a somewhat young bunch.
Alex Collin RB
As stated earlier with TJ Watt needing a backup to rest a few plays, Najee Harris is no different, and it has become clear the team still does not have an answer to spell him some snaps going into year two. After a massive workload and putting up huge numbers in year one it does not seem Harris’ job is going to get any easier now with Ben Roethlisberger retired the Steelers should go back to their pound the rock and hard nosed defensive approach that’s been extremely successful in the past. Coming off of two down years with the Seahawks in a split back system, Collins still showed splashes rushing for almost 4 yards per carry on just over 100 attempts last year, his lone 100+ yard game came against, yep you guessed it the Steelers. Collins is still only 27, which isn’t that old (yes even for a running back). I provided this Ravens picture as a reminder of the few games he absolutely gashed the Steelers, in 2017 he ran for 973 yards while only starting 12 games. He could finally take some pressure off Najee and let him play at full speed on all downs, while still wearing down defenses.
Eric Fisher OT
Like Barr another former Pro Bowler whom has yet to be picked up doin to some injury history or not yet finding the right spot, Fisher would be the perfect add up front for a young unproven Steelers O-Line. Although Ben Roethlisberger was clearly nearing his last days at QB for the Steelers last season, it was apparent the O-Line did nothing to help make that transition seem less as Ben was constantly under pressure and had try and make whatever Big Ben magic he had left. This year having two mobile QBs in the fold competing for a starting nod it should take some pressure off the guys upfront but every one knows line play on Offense can completely derail a game plan if not up to par. The Steelers did give the new QBs and Najee Harris a bit of help brining in James Daniels and Mason Cole this off season to play in the middle of the line, but what have they done at the tackle position? Not much. They have brought back Chuks Okarafor whom has shown flashes, limiting great players like Von Miller, but also seems to fall asleep at times. While Dan Moore impressed as a rookie, lets not forget about how Kevin Dotson did the same before having a disastrous sophomore year.
Joe Haden CB
Despite the signing of Levi Wallace (which I believe was a huge under the radar move) the Steelers secondary is still pretty unproven. A few splash plays against number two receivers and now we are banking on the fact that Ahkello Witherspoon is THAT GUY. I certainly hope so, but there is something to be said about having a true number one corner on your team, which Haden has been these past few years. It would be a shame to see Haden suit up in another uniform although highly unlikely the Steelers will bring him back, but hey a guy can dream right?
With Only $20m to spend, who do you think the Steelers should bring?