Now that the NFL and the NFLPA have officially agreed to not agree, the NFL lockout has started, and there are MANY different routes that can take place between now and September.
One thing I do know: This lockout will probably help the Steelers more than it hurts them.
Here is how the offseason normally goes for a Steelers fan.
1. No free agents signed.
Normally, in Pittsburgh, the Steelers will sign a couple of players, but none that are expected to really step in and make significant contributions. With the free-agent explosion the Steelers had in 2010 (Foote, Randle El), neither of those players played a significant role in the Steelers' success.
The core of the Steelers team will remain in tact. With LaMarr Woodley having signed his franchise tender, the only major player for the Steelers not under contract is Ike Taylor. With Taylor being a close family friend of the Rooneys, the odds of him returning to the Steelers have grown.
Willie Colon was also tendered a restricted free-agent offer, so if there is no free agency, he will have no choice but to return to the Steelers. With the NFL making the rules (to this point), players will required to have six years of service to become unrestricted, meaning Colon will be stuck in black and gold.
How does this lockout affect the Steelers?
It is looking more and more like the team that went to the Super Bowl for the AFC will actually be stronger than the one that would have had multiple free agents.
2. The draft.
When the Steelers draft, normally the players the Steelers select get a "redshirt" rookie season. They are on the team and will get some plays on the field, but for the most part, they don't get a lot of playing time.
Even if the lockout runs until the scheduled preseason, the Steelers would not have to worry about having to give significant playing time to someone that has not had any offseason to work with the team.
3. The coaching staff.
With the Steelers having retained almost all of their coaches from 2010, all of the players that are currently locked out still have their playbooks from last year. There are no changes to schemes or alignments.
With the exception of losing Ray Horton to the Arizona Cardinals and replacing him with former Steelers Pro Bowler Carnell Lake the Steelers will be the same next year as they were last.
With the Steelers good enough to make the Super Bowl last year and the way they run their franchise, this is almost an unfair advantage for the Steelers.
These cards seem to be playing right into the hands of the black and gold, and Lombardi Trophy No. 7 could be only 11 short months away.
If there IS any football.