Mike Tomlin has decided to keep both of his coordinators but must find a replacement for secondary coach Ray Horton, hired by Arizona as the Cardinals' defensive coordinator.
The Steelers have three starters who can become free agents and must decide what to do about them: Linebacker LaMarr Woodley, cornerback Ike Taylor and tackle Willie Colon. Kicker Shaun Suisham's contract also is up.
There have been reports that LaMarr Woodley expects to be "franchised" but the Steelers may be reluctant to do that, first of all because they do not want to pay him more than $10 million that would require in 2011. Woodley may just be too expensive for them and they did draft Jason Worilds on the second round last year as an outside linebacker and he could step in for Woodley if he leaves as a free agent.
That may be their only decision before March 4 because they are a team of patience and with no CBA it requires even more patience this year.
1. Cornerback: Ike Taylor can become a UFA but even if they re-sign him, they need at least one more good corner because they do not have another good corner and the good passing teams exploited that the past season, including Green Bay in the Super Bowl.
2. Offensive tackle: Their two starters both were hurt and had surgeries - Max Starks (neck) and Willie Colon (ruptured Achilles). If both return in good health, the need eases but there is no guarantee they will and Colon will be a UFA. Flozell Adams will turn 36 and he's due a $5 million salary. The others are not deemed competent fulltime starters.
3. Defensive line: Ziggy Hood, drafted in 2009, played well for injured Aaron Smith but the Steelers need to find another starter-in-waiting either for NT Casey Hampton, who will be 34 before the start of next season, or DE Brett Keisel, who will be 33.
4. Linebacker: LaMarr Woodley may leave as a UFA, which would leave his spot to rookie second-round pick Jason Worilds but they have no backups on the outside and James Harrison will be 33 in May. It's time to get another linebacker-in-waiting.
WR Hines Ward was to have surgery on his left knee to repair cartilage and his left thumb that was dislocated when a ligament tore. WR Emmanuel Sanders was to have surgery to repair a small broken bone in his foot. QB Ben Roethlisberger, who continued to wear a protective shoe on his broken right foot, will not have surgery and allow the foot to heal on its own. OTs Max Starks (neck surgery) and Willie Colon (Achilles surgery) continue to rehab. C Maurkice Pouncey (high ankle sprain) did not play in the Super Bowl but no surgery is necessary. DE Aaron Smith long ago completed rehab on surgery to repair torn triceps but never did play and must regain his strength in the arm.
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