For the Pittsburgh Steelers, a Quiet Approach Now Will Pay Dividends Later

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For the Pittsburgh Steelers, a Quiet Approach Now Will Pay Dividends Later
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For those of you hoping to wake up to news that the Steelers were close to acquiring Antonio Cromartie, Julius Peppers, Antrel Rolle, or others as they loaded up for a run at the Super Bowl, I'm sorry to disappoint you.

Cromartie is now with the Jets, Peppers will likely be in Chicago, and it's likely that Rolle will be rolling in money somewhere other than Pittsburgh.

And, to be honest, that's the way it should be.

Too many fans think that the uncapped 2010 season is a blank check for acting like Daniel Snyder or Jerry Jones and signing everything good that moves.

I remember reading the irate message boards after Kevin Colbert publicly said that the Steelers were capping themselves this offseason rather than spending freely and creating problems later.

The cold, hard reality is that no one knows what will happen after this season. Ideally, things will return to some renegotiated form of normal. The salary cap will return and labor peace will reign.

There's also the possibility of a lockout and a cancellation of the season similar to what the NHL went through in 2005.

The Steelers—and many other teams, for that matter—are not going to get caught with their pants down when things settle, however.

Consider this.

Any team that overspends the projected cap figures for 2010 will likely overspend the projected cap figures in 2011. Assuming that the salary cap returns in 2011, those free-spending teams will be over the cap.

Salary cap hell would ensue on a larger scale than ever before.

For those of you who remember watching the Ravens and Titans cycle from contender to also-ran and back again, you know what that means.

The Steelers are doing what no U.S. government has been able to do for decades: they are being fiscally responsible. They are saving their money and operating under a strict business plan that, while it may not be as glamorous as what they're planning to do in Washington, Dallas, and other markets, will still bring them out on top in the end.

There are two facts operating in the Steelers' favor.

First, the Steelers aren't that far from being a championship team right now. They need secondary help and could use depth at several positions, but they aren't far off.

Second, the Steelers build successfully by drafting smart. They have never been big players in the free agent market and probably never will be. They perpetually have a younger, more versatile team.

And, like it or not, they are perpetually in contention (three losing seasons since 1992).

The Steelers will likely make a move or two this offseason. They're still working on re-signing free agent safety Ryan Clark and are probably resigned to paying him more money now that he's on the open market.

They'll also kick the tires on a few players who could fit certain roles with the team and who could provide depth.

What they won't do is go after the top-tier players. They don't have the money under the "cap" to spend, and they will be spending their big dollars in the draft next month.

So settle in for another quiet offseason, Steelers fans. And remember that your team has always, and will always be, smart in its dealings.

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