The Pittsburgh Steelers are going through their walkout meetings this afternoon at the Southside Complex. Decisions await the Steelers brass due to key players set to test free agency (if a new CBA is reached) and the contracts for a few key coaches have expired.
While the NFL’s future is cloudy for next season as the current CBA is set to expire on March 4th, it is widely expected that a salary cap will be put back in place in the new CBA, which could hamper the Steelers ability to keep LaMarr Woodley.
Free Agency Buzz
Cornerback Ike Taylor is said to be the Steelers top priority at this early stage. Preliminary discussions between Omar Khan and agent Joel Segal are expected to begin over the next couple weeks with talks likely to intensify leading into the NFL draft combine.
The two sides spoke during Super Bowl week, sources say.
The starting point in talks for the 30 year old Taylor’s standpoint could center around Leigh Bodden’s four-year, $22 million agreement with the New England Patriots from last season, that included $10 million in guaranteed money and $14 million over the first two years of the deal.
The Steelers are said to be interested in laying out the framework of a deal before the CBA expires.
Right Tackle Willie Colon — The Steelers have yet to establish a timetable for contract talks with agent Joe Linta, sources say. They may wait until after a new CBA is in place, however, sense is Colon will be back.
Colon is best friends with Ben Roethlisberger and is said to have a strong interest in returning.
Just 27 years old, the Steelers value Colon highly but never showed interest in negotiating a long-term deal with Colon due to the CBA uncertainty which has frustrated Linta in the past.
Coaching Staff Buzz
Keith Butler The Arizona Cardinals have yet to receive permission from the Steelers to interview Butler for their defensive coordinator position. The Steelers are said to be mulling the possibility of letting Butler go but this is Mike Tomlin’s guy to replace Dick LeBeau.
However, the belief is that it’s the proper thing for the Steelers to let Butler go as Dick LeBeau isn’t ready to move on to retirement.
Cardinals Beat Writer Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic was just on the Trib’s Sportstalk radio this afternoon with Ken Laird and Deshea Townsend talking about Steelers Coaches possibly leaving for Arizona.
Secondary coach Ray Horton is also believed to be on Arizona’s radar for their DC position.
Bruce Arians/Dick LeBeau — The contract for Bruce Arians has expired along with Dick LeBeau.
LeBeau has indicated multiple times that he intends to return and despite the possibility of losing Keith Butler, the defensive coordinator in waiting, LeBeau is said to control his own fate. All indications are he will be back.
No knock on LeBeau here but you have to wonder if Mike Tomlin would prefer move forward with Butler, instead of losing Butler as LeBeau is at the age where he’s coaching on a year-to-year basis.
The hot topic right now is the future of Bruce Arians. Can’t see any reason he doesn’t come back but sooner than later the Steelers do want to begin the process of grooming Randy Fichtner as the new offensive coordinator.