Re: We could lose 4 key veterans
I love all 4 players. But if all four do go, then their replacement would be Worilds, Spence, Gilbert(or Adams) and McClendon.
Team with those 4 moves instantly start trending to becoming one of the youngest teams in the league. If the Steelers drop Hampton and put McClendon at NT. Steelers front 7 on defense becomes a complete rebuild and all very young.
Defensive Line: Hood, McClendon, Heyward, ages 26, 27, 24
Middle Linebackers: Timmons, Spence: ages 27, 24
Outside Linebackers: Worilds, Woodley: ages 25, 28
I am praying Spence is back at 100% for training camp next year. He was looking like a Derrick Brooks type middle linebacker during preseason. And he has lots of speed.
Steelers HAVE to resign players like Keenan Lewis.
My hope, and I know the Steelers are big on the draft and not delving into the free agent pool, but my advice would be to look into free agency a little more this season. Let all the old guys walk. Start your young studs and let go of the malcontents like Mendenhall and Wallace. Nothing destroys a young team more then when you have two players in prime positions playing and talking like (bleep) (bleep).
Let Mendenhall go. Sign Ben Tate and make him your feature. Keep Dwyer as the number 2 and Redman as the 3rd down back and goal line guy.
Let Wallace go, this frees up another 10 million you do not have to pay. Is Antonio Brown a number 1? I do not know, his high ankle sprain hurt his season a lot. If anyone here hasn't had a high ankle sprain before, it is like tearing a ligament in your MCL. It isn't season ending but tends to screw up your season a little. I say, let Plaxico have another shot in the off season to see if he can help. Otherwise, Colbert will need to pluck another 3rd round stud at WR in the draft.
Let Colon go. Too many injuries, too many bonehead plays. They aren't worth the 5 games during the year he has awesome run blocks in games.
Gilbert, Decastro, Pouncey, Foster, Adams. That's as solid line as you can have right now with no major tweaks and Big Ben being a QB. Maybe if you got a 20-25 carry RB, line will play better and keep Big Ben from ruining the season by holding the ball for 56 seconds in a game against the Jaguars and gets injured next year.