Five Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 1
By Hombre de Acero
Well, fellow citizens of Steelers Nation, the 2017 season is almost here. By the time the Pittsburgh Steelers kick off against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, 232 days will have passed since their (latest) defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship.
In that time, Ben Roethlisberger has mused about retirement, Antonio Brown has become the NFL’s highest paid wide receiver, redoubtable understudies who helped return this team to the playoffs, namely Cody Wallace and DeAngelo Williams, have seemingly begun their “Life’s Work,” and of course the Pittsburgh Steelers have lost Dan Rooney.
A lot has been done, and even more has been said, but before Pittsburgh can kickoff against Cleveland this corner of Steelers Nation still first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the 2017 Steelers.
1. The suspense has ended. The first round of the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Le’Veon Bell has ended with the franchise running back opting to play for the Steelers in 2017 instead of working at Dairy Queen! Ok, no one really expected Bell to leave 12 million dollars on the table, even if he really wants 15.
12 Million dollars is a lot of money. Not only does that make Le’Veon Bell the NFL’s highest paid running back, he’s also making 50% (by some measures) more than the next back below him. However, things get interesting when you compare Le’Veon Bell’s 2017 salary against historic salary cap averages of other franchise running backs…
….When looked at in terms of the percentage of the salary cap he’s getting, Le’Veon Bell is only making out slightly better than Barry Foster, and far less than the true great franchise running backs of the 1990’s.
What does this tell you?
2. Mike Tomlin insists that each season represents a new team, as Ricardo Mathews, Lawrence Timmons and Cobi Hamilton can attest. Yet, when the Steelers take to the field on Sunday against the Browns, they’ll likely dress Joe Haden, Vance McDonald and J.J. Wilcox, three players who weren’t even on the roster for the Steelers final preseason game, let alone with the team at St. Vincents.
The segment of the fanbase who spends every off season longing for the Steelers to be big time players in free agency couldn’t be happier. And most of the professional press seems to agree that these are good moves.
But what do you think of so many 11th hour roster shuffles from a franchise who prides itself on building from within?
3. The Steelers announced the inaugural class of their Hall of Honor by inducting 27 members. In discussing the size of the class, Bob Labriola explained that the selection committee opted for recognition over competition.
Do you agree with Labrolia, or do you think that inducting such a large class dilutes the value of getting into the Hall?
4. The Steelers are not done with their roster tweaking, as they must make one more move when they formally activate Le’Veon Bell. Friday evening, on your way home from work, you get an unrecognized call from a 412 area code. It is from Art Rooney II. He says that Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin are deadlocked over who should be the cut to make room for Bell and asks your advice.
What do you tell him?
5. What are your keys to a Seventh Steelers Super Bowl in 2017?
You all know the rules. Use a No. 2 pencil, color the little circle in completely, and feel free to read off your neighbor’s paper. What have you got, folks?