I apologize for starting one of these so early, but there's just so much going on with the Steelers right now that it's hard not to talk about. First of all, the Steelers opened the offseason with what GM Kevin Colbert projected to be a salary cap $25M over the limit, at around $145M. In the last couple weeks, they have made the following moves: Cut Bryant McFadden (starter on 3 Super Bowl teams) Cut Arnaz Battle (special teams captain) Restructured the contracts of LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons Restructured the contract of Ike Taylor Restructured the contract of Willie Colon Then the big restructure, Ben Roethlisberger And now, in the last 2 and a half days, they have cut Hines Ward, Chris Kemoeatu, Aaron Smith, and James Farrior. That is a shitload of leadership walking out of the locker room. Farrior was the quarterback of the defense for the past decade and the defensive captain. Arnaz Battle was the special teams captain. Hines Ward was the co-captain of the offense along with Heath Miller last year. Aaron Smith is one of the most beloved Steelers of all time. On top of all that, longtime backup nose tackle Chris Hoke retired a month ago. He played most of the 2004 season when the Steelers went 15-1 because Casey Hampton tore an ACL. He was another locker room favorite. Who steps up to replace them? Obviously Ben Roethlisberger is now the unquestioned leader of the offense. He's now the oldest, having just turned 30. On defense, you have Polamalu, Harrison, Woodley, and Keisel, but none of them are what Farrior was as a leader. He was the nucleus. All in all, this is what all of these moves have amounted to in terms of the salary cap: QB Ben Roethlisberger: Restructure — $8.15 million LB LaMarr Woodley: Restructure — $6.56 million LB Lawrence Timmons: Restructure — $5.14 million WR Hines Ward: Release — $3.37 million CB Ike Taylor: Restructure — $3.28 million OL Willie Colon: Restructure — $2.85 million LB James Farrior: Release - $2.825 million CB Bryant McFadden: Release — $2.5 million OL Chris Kemoeatu: Release — $2.39 million DL Aaron Smith: Release — $2.11 million WR Arnaz Battle: Release — $1.04 million Total savings: approximately $40.2 million This gives the team about $15M to work with to sign their free agents. Mike Wallace is obviously the most talked about, for good reason, but the idea of putting the franchise tag on him is insane, especially this year. The tag hit for WRs this year is close to $10M, and the team just doesn't have that kind of money. And he's not worth that kind of money. Neither is DeSean Jackson, who was already tagged, or Dwayne Bowe, who is expected to be tagged. But, also consider the depth of this WR class; why would a team want to give up a 1st round pick AND sign a player to a gigantic, front-loaded contract to make sure that the Steelers don't match the offer when they can sign an unrestricted free agent like Marques Colston or about a half dozen others? Sure, the Patriots have the draft picks to spend, but after throwing a couple away last year on Ochocinco and Haynesworth, you'd think they would be more prudent about it. The Steelers should be able to keep him with a 1st round tender at $2.7M. But that still leaves them with only 3 WRs on the roster, which makes me think that they really would like to re-sign Jerricho Cotchery, but he doesn't want to be a 4th receiver. Maybe they draft somebody. Releasing James Farrior means the Steelers need to find his replacement. Maybe they have their eyes set on drafting Dont'a Hightower now that Dontari Poe has risen up the draft boards. All of a sudden, however, NT, ILB, and S are critical needs. It's unlikely that Poe, the NT, will fall for the 24th spot, but Hightower might be there, as might Mark Barron, a S, although I don't really like the idea of drafting a S in the first round. They could also use a guard, but I don't see one at 24. Long story short, what are you hoping your team drafts, and what is the likelihood that they are able to?