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At this point, we all know about the cap issues, and the front office has already taken care of some of the work for me by releasing Bryant McFadden and Arnaz Battle, two players made obsolete by the wave of youth brought in by the Steelers over the past two years. Smart.
Next, the front office restructured the contracts of Lamarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons, clearing up a boatload of cap space. Smart.
Now, it's time to get dumb. We begin by cutting ties with Aaron Smith and James Farrior. It's been an amazing run, and they will always have a place near and dear to our hearts, but everyone's time comes eventually, and unfortunately the time has come for these two defensive stalwarts.
Then we move on to restructuring injured NT Casey Hampton's contract, along with All-Pro OLB James Harrison's. I'm no logistics expert when it comes to things like this, but doing so, I believe, will allow for the Steelers to save a substantial amount of cap space, while managing to keep locker room continuity by not cutting two more long-time starters. Besides, Hampton is the only true NT on the roster. Steve McClendon isn't ready to take over full-time, and he's undersized.
By the way, I find those who are calling for the release of Harrison to be quite out of line. The man, despite battling back and eye injuries, managed to rack up nine sacks in only 11 games.
Even with a down year in tackles (59), that's still solid production, and only one less sack in five less games than his lowest total since becoming a starter (2009 season, 10 sacks, 16 games). On top of that, he did so mostly without Lamarr Woodley playing opposite him. With the pace the two were on when healthy, if they both stayed healthy all season, I'm convinced the season/post season would have turned out totally differently.
Anyway, next move is the obvious one of cutting Kemo and J. Scott. Smart. Then, cut Willie Colon. Smart. Why? He's missed the past two seasons with season ending injuries. Know who else missed two seasons in a row with season enders? Aaron Smith. Nuff said. Now, replacing the two comes later.
Finally, we hope that Big Ben and Hines Ward restructure their contracts. Big Ben out of necessity, Hines out of hope that he can return for one final year with the Steelers.
All of these moves should provide more than enough cap space for resigning, drafting, and free agency.