The Pittsburgh Steelers franchise is as stable as they come in professional sports. Rarely do they make rash decisions that completely change the face of the team in a short period of time.
However, this year may be different.
A combination of age and salary have finally caught up with the Steelers, and we will see more changes this offseason than we have become accustomed to.
Pittsburgh is expected to be $25 million over the salary cap, and team president Art Rooney II acknowledged that the team would have to make some "tough decisions" on players.
That could mean releasing several starters or key backups.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette, if the Steelers release Aaron Smith, Bryant McFadden, Casey Hampton, James Farrior and Larry Foote, the team could save $15.31 million.
It is almost certain that Smith and McFadden will be gone and the Steelers will probably decide between Farrior or Foote, as they cannot deplete the inside linebacker position.
The chances of Hampton being released increased with the report from the Post-Gazette that he will have surgery Friday to repair his torn ACL.
Beyond these potential cuts, Chris Kemoeatu may be released, Chris Hoke just retired and the Steelers have several important free agents, including William Gay.
While the core is still in place, the Steelers will be facing upgrades at several key spots.