Cameron Heyward celebrates sack with Jason Worilds in the fourth quarter of a game against the Dolphins in December at Heinz Field.
Gerry Dulac: All right, lets get our chat started. I know you're eager. Fire away ....
Walter Ambercrombie: Do you think Foote's release means the Steelers have faith in either Vince Williams or Sean Spence?
Gerry Dulac: Yes they have a lot of belief in those two, plus Terence Garvin. Spence, of course, is the prize of the group, especially if he can come back from that devastating knee injury and nerve damage. I wrote last week that he is ahead of where the Steelers thought he would be at this point, but they still don't when and/or if he will be able to play.
Brandon: What will they do with Shamarko with the Mitchell signing?
Gerry Dulac: Nothing. Mitche'l''s signing means he will have to wait another year probably to be a starter. I don't think too many people with the Steelers think Troy Polamalu will be effective enough to play after 2014. Meantime, that gives the Steelers a lot of depth at that spot.
kjacksonpgh: Hi Gerry, any idea if the Steelers approached Woodley about a contract reduction instead of a straight release? Did they give him any opportunity to remain with the team?
Gerry Dulac: No they didn't, unless he wanted to play for the veteran minimum, and he wasnt going to do that.
kjacksonpgh: Gerry, since Mike Mitchell was signed at safety I suppose now the Steelers will focus on other priorities. What in your opinion is the top priority in the draft now WR CB OLB?
Gerry Dulac: Correct. With Mitchell, Thomas and re-signing Will Allen, safety is now off the board for the Steelers, at least in the first five rounds. Some mocks had the Steelers taking a safety on the first round -- Pryor, Clinton-Dix -- but I never thought that. Their two priorities remain tall WR, CB, but a large focus of their draft will be on defense.
Alan: Thoughts on the Mitchell signing? A good move to improve an aging secondary?
Gerry Dulac: Absolutely. Great addition. Plays the ball and brings speed to the back end, something the Steelers were sorely lacking. ... To me, a great signing. I have told you for weeks and months the Steelers, unlike recent years, would go sign a defensive starter in free agency, either a CB or safety, and they didn't waste any time.
David: Any update on a long term deal with Worilds? The Steelers have an incentive to strike a deal to lower his 2014 cap number so they can sign more free agents.
Gerry Dulac: No update other than that is their intention. And, yes, his cap hit will lower probably with a long-term contract.
Guest: Are there any FA linebackers the Steelers are or should be looking at?
Brian: Love the Mitchell signing. Any chance we go after another Panther in Ted Ginn? He could fill 2 roles.
Gerry Dulac: Oops, clicked on two questions at once.Let me answer the LB one .... I think the Steelers will try to add a veteran LB in free agency, perhaps even someone who could come in and contend for an inside starting spot. But they like the young players they have at their position and are confident they can do the job. But, after releasing Foote and Woodley, and with so many young LBs, I think they will try to add some experience. As for Tedd Gin....no.
John: Would you consider our DE position a position of underrated dire need?
Gerry Dulac: That is an oxymoron. No doubt, it needs some players, especially if Ziggy Hood is not re-signed, and I'm not so sure he will be. Brett Keisel will not be brought back unless there is some late-summer surprise. So if you lose two of your former starters, bodies are going to be needed. And the Steelers are trying to figure out what to do at nose tackle and how to improve it.
Libbert Hobley: Does this mean that Shamarko isn't ready to play? Any chance he moves to CB?
Gerry Dulac: None.
David: Should we be worried about the Steelers prospects of re-signing Al Woods, since he's visiting Tennessee today?
Gerry Dulac: Well, that goes to the previous question about a need on the defensive line. Yes, that's a concern, and the off-shoot of that would be that if Woods signed with the Titans, the Steelers might feel compelled to bring back Ziggy Hood. That wouldn't be the worst thing, but it's not something that's going to drastically improve your defensive line.
David: You said Steelers might next sign a LB in free agency. OLB or ILB?
Gerry Dulac: More than likely it would be inside linebacker.
ZACK B.: Sign a FA NT maybe? Move McClendon to DE? Would make the draft very easy for Steelers and could go cb, then wr. What do you think?
Gerry Dulac: I never understand why people think the Steelers are going to take a nose tackle on the first round. It is more likely they would sign a nose tackle in free agency. However, after the Mitchell signing, I don't think the Steelers are going to go sign another free-agent starter who is going to cost them some money.
Stash in Bloomfield: Does Ben get any input into what type of WR the Steelers might bring in Free Agency? Does Lance Moore get a look?
Gerry Dulac: Contrary to what you and others might think, he has little, if any, say on any personnel matters.
gerry: thought cody wallace played well in a brief stint last year. any chance he gets brought back?
Gerry Dulac: Agreed. I think he will be. And he won't cost a lot.
Jerry Stedman: Do you think the signing of Mitchell means the team will shy away from drafting additional "safety" help?
Gerry Dulac: Yep.
John: With so many needs on defense and offense just average how many years to you think it will take before the Steelers are really in contention for another Super Bowl.
Gerry Dulac: If they can imporve their defense, not many at all. Not when you have Ben Roethlisberger.
Miller: Andy Benoit of the NYT had this to say on Twitter re: yesterday's signing: "#Steelers new S Mike Mitchell not right replacement for Ryan Clark. Closer Mitchell is to line of scrimmage, the better. Opposite of Clark." Thoughts?
Gerry Dulac: The flaw in that comment is that he suggests Clark is better away from the line of scrimmage, which proves he doesn't know what he's talking about., So I'm not going to pay heed to the other part of his analysis.
John B.: Do you foresee Shamarko playing the SS role while Troy roams the middle like he did last year? Or do you think with development of Williams that Troy will resume his traditional role?
Gerry Dulac: That role Troy assumes is only in one of their sub packages and is contingent on the type of offense the Steelers are facing. But I think in those packages he will remain in that role.
Rick: Vegas has over under on Steeler wins at 9 this year. I think the roster will be worse. I like under. What do you like?
Gerry Dulac: If they got 8 last year with that watered-down roster, they should get at least 9 with some changes and improvements.
Miller: It's easy to draw the assumption that Colbert and Tomlin being at Michigan State's pro day means that they're circling CB Dennard as a first-round target. Not surprising, but now more probable?
Gerry Dulac: They go to a lot of pro days, but I will tell you he draws their interest a lot and could very well be their top pick, if he's available. Dennard fits their style of play and is a good boundary corner.
Keith: If Mike Evans is gone, Could Kelvin Benjamin be a target at 15, or is he more of a trade down or round 2 type guy?
Gerry Dulac: Yes, I think he is a trade-down, low-first, early-second round type of receiver. But still a good one. Maybe not at 15.
Rick: Hey GD with Dline depth as poor as it is an woods visiting tenn. Rookies can't step in an play. Go we go free agency for starter
Gerry Dulac: I don';t rule that out. But, Like I said earlier, I thought the Steelers would spend money to find one starter in free agency, and they did -- Mike Mitchell. I don't think they will spend the money, or have the money, to sign two.
Guest: Is Ike Taylor still overpaid considering his age and his declining play last year?
Gerry Dulac: I think so, at $2.75 million.
Brandon: What is realistically out there for depth at RB? Better to go to FA scrap heap or draft?
Gerry Dulac: Draft. Fifth round or so. Speedy, scat-back type. Love Kent State's Dri Archer for that role.
Scott: Do you see any other positions of need the Steelers could fill in FA? Nose tackle perhaps?
Gerry Dulac: Absolutely
jtb: why do they say the stillers aren't a big spending team. yet it seems were always over the cap?
Gerry Dulac: They're not big spenders in free agency. But they take care of their own. It's kinda hard to argue witrh their approach with all those Super Bowls, AFC title games and division winners.
Chad: Steelers in the market for a FA corner?
Gerry Dulac: Not now. They will look to the draft first. They signed their "free-agent corner." His name is Ike Taylor.
kjacksonpgh: Gerry, with so many needs on defense to get younger can the Steelers afford to take the best player available tactic even if it is not a position of need?
Gerry Dulac: That's overblown. The Steelers take the best available athlete at one of their positions of need. You have to do that when you're 8-8 two years in a row.
Gerry Dulac: Wow, so many questions still to get at and we're out of time. Thanx for all those. Keep an eye of my Twitter account, @gerrydulac, for more insight and more opportunity to ask questions.
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