The Pittsburgh Steelers will enter the 2014 offseason as a team meddling in mediocrity. Change will be necessary if they want to get back into playoff contention.
Apparently, the Steelers did not make enough changes last season coming off of an 8-8 record. The result was more of the same—another eight-win season.
Missed playoff appearances are always a disappointment for the Steelers, so do not expect them to stand pat. General manager Kevin Colbert will have to make some shrewd moves in free agency, particularly when dealing with his own players.
Last season, the Steelers got burned by not keeping Keenan Lewis, and Colbert will not want to have a repeat season. He and the rest of the Steelers brass will have several difficult decisions to make between keeping longtime established veterans or going with young players with upside.
But there is hope moving forward. Steelers president Art Rooney II told Missi Matthews and Bob Labriola of Steelers.com the he feels good about the team moving forward into 2014:
I certainly liked the way we finished. As far as I’m concerned, we should be in the playoffs. On the other side of it, we made our bed. Unfortunately, we got off to a slow start. I liked the way we finished, I liked the fact we got better as the season went on, which is what you want. You want a team that’s playing its best at the end. I think for the most part that’s what we did, and that leaves me excited for next season already. We’re looking forward to getting started on preparing for next year.
There will be plenty of work to do from clearing cap room to handling their own free agents. With the lack of depth across the board, the Steelers will have to reach out into the free-agent market to plug holes as well as have a successful draft.
As the Steelers head into the 2014 offseason, here is a breakdown of the state of the franchise and what you can look forward to in the coming months.