Offseason holds more questions than meet the eye for Steelers
December 21, 2013 8:59 PM
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery says he wants to be a Steeler again next year.
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers have their work cut out for them, and it begins after they play in Green Bay today and finish up with Cleveland next Sunday at Heinz Field.
Yes, they must decide between Jason Worilds and LaMarr Woodley. Yes, they will try to sign Ben Roethlisberger to a contract extension.
But they have a whole lot more to do than just that. Take their defensive line. Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood, their two starting ends before Cameron Heyward took over, do not have contracts for next season. Who plays the other end if they leave? Al Woods? He doesn't have one either and he would join them as an unrestricted free agent.
Then there is that productive group of wide receivers who have helped the Steelers approach numerous passing records. Two of their top three could be gone because Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery will become unrestricted free agents.
Cotchery, who has nine touchdown receptions as their No. 3 man, would love to come back.
"This is a good place to be," said Cotchery, 31. "I played a lot this year, I played a bunch. I'm just trying to win a championship, man. My mindset really is to do whatever I can to help this team get there. I want to do it here but ..."
Who knows if the Steelers will or can pony up to keep him? Will they try to sign Hood and/or Woods, or neither? And what about their safeties? Troy Polamalu will make $8,250,000 in the final year of his deal in 2014 and Ryan Clark's contract is up. So too is the contract of their No. 3 safety, Will Allen.
How about running back? They are safe at No. 1 with rookie Le'Veon Bell, but Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones, his two backups, both will be free after the season.
For the Steelers to avoid a third consecutive season out of the playoffs, they need to win the offseason.
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