Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport
Solution: Cut Salaries
The Steelers have had very little wiggle room under the salary cap in recent years because they've had to pay the price of success.
A lot of players earned hefty contracts when the Steelers were going to Super Bowls.
The salaries of Ben Roethlisberger, LaMarr Woodley, Ike Taylor, Lawrence Timmons and Troy Polamalu are expected to take up more than half of the Steelers' 2014 cap, according to Spotrac.
The Steelers are about to miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season, so not all of those players are giving them what the team is paying them for this year.
Woodley, who has nine sacks over the past two seasons and hasn't been healthy for a full season since 2010, is due a base salary of $8 million in 2014.
Pro Football Focus (subscription required) gives Taylor the worst overall ranking among 42 NFL cornerbacks who have played at least 75 percent of their team's snaps. Taylor's 2014 base salary is $7 million.
Woodley turns 30 next year and Taylor turns 34. If Taylor isn't willing to take a pay cut, the Steelers should release him. If Woodley isn't willing to take one, the Steelers should consider cutting him.
The Steelers need to free up money to re-sign unrestricted free agents like Jason Worilds and Jerricho Cotchery.
After more than three years, Worilds has finally found a way to get to quarterbacks. He leads the team with seven sacks and is one of the few bright spots on defense.
Cotchery leads the team with nine touchdowns.
It's time for the Steelers to stop paying for success they're no longer having. They must invest in the future.