I guess I should be grateful. Unlike many others who wrote articles like this a month ago, I’ve at least had the good fortune to get this far with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That said, it’s now time to start looking ahead for several players. What does the future hold for them? I’ve got some ideas.
Lawrence Timmons – The ‘Law Dog’ far exceeded my expectations in 2016 and had what may have been one of his best seasons. He commented last night that he was a “Pittsburgh guy” and frankly I’d love to see him retire a Steeler. Despite some coverage shortcomings, I believe he will work out a short-term deal to remain with the Steelers.
James Harrison – Despite his age, Harrison was the most consistent outside linebacker. Once the team decided to go with he and Bud Dupree and less of a rotation, the defense was made better. If Harrison wants to keep playing I see no reason not to sign him to another short-term deal. With Jarvis Jones on the way out and little else there in terms of starting material, he may be needed.
DeAngelo Williams – Had DWill been able to stay healthy all season I would be inclined to bring him back. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. He’s been one of Kevin Colbert’s greatest free agent signings and a great guy in the community but I think he goes elsewhere if not into retirement.
Jarvis Jones – I see no reason to bring him back. The reasons are many but the lack of production is at the top of the heap.
Markus Wheaton – While he had his moments, Wheaton is now lost in the sea of good receivers in Pittsburgh. With Eli Rogers and Demarcus Ayers emerging along with the return of Martavis Bryant, Wheaton is gone.
Landry Jones – This may be the most difficult to predict. He knows the offense and has been serviceable at times but there’s no future for him as a potential replacement for Ben Roethlisberger. If the Steelers feel they can’t upgrade here he could be back and I’m going to predict he is.
Ricardo Mathews – When he arrived from San Diego, I wasn’t sure what to expect. His tape flashed some solid moments and that gave me hope. I think he had a very nice year and despite the late season ankle injury, he played well. I believe he will be back as depth for the D-line.
Le’Veon Bell – Here are the questions. Can he stay out of trouble? Can he stay healthy? This season went a long way towards a ‘yes’ for the second one but when needed most, he broke down. He’s going to want money well north of $10 million per year but I believe the Steelers will tag him. Once the 2017 season is over they’ll evaluate based on his health and ability to keep clean off the field.
Cody Wallace – At 32 and having missed the entire season, my gut tells me he’s gone. The reason for keeping him is that B.J. Finney is much better at guard than center. Wallace’s other problem is that he’s a penalty flag waiting to happen.
Greg Warren – One of the last holdovers from the Bill Cowher era, Warren continues to be a very reliable long snapper. As long as he wants to keep playing I say bring him back.
Steven Johnson – I see no reason to bring him back.
David Johnson – Yes he’s versatile but it’s time to move on. Does very little on offense and isn’t as great a blocker as some would have you think.
Shamarko Thomas – Obviously a major disappointment as a safety. He’s a very good special teams’ guy but he also deals with lots of nagging injuries. I would not bring him back.
All of these situations are fluid of course so we’ll see how things change as the offseason rolls on.