Pittsburgh Steelers: Could Aaron Smith, Flozell Adams Be Cap Casualties?

Chris GazzeCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2011

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  (L-R) Troy Polamalu #43, James Farrior #51, Ike Tayloer #24, Aaron Smith #91, Bryant McFadden #20 and Deshea Townsend #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers get into position on defense against the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Steelers won 27-23. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

All this offseason the talk around Pittsburgh was whether or not the Steelers would be able to re-sign Ike Taylor once the NFL lockout ended.

The bigger question is whether or not the Steelers are able to re-sign Taylor but rather they are able to keep the veteran core that led them to an AFC Championship last year in tact.

According to John Clayton, the 2011 salary cap will be set at $120 million. That would put the Steelers $10.51 million over the cap.

There are also exemptions being discussed that, according to ESPN, would give teams a $3 million credit this year, which would still leave Pittsburgh with a lot of work to do.

Clayton believes that two of the prime candidates for the Steelers to release are Flozell Adams and Aaron Smith as they would provide the Steelers with a combined savings of $9.5 million.

Pittsburgh currently has no player behind Adams who would be an adequate starter at right tackle as both Trai Essex and Jonathan Scott are free agents. Willie Colon is also a free agent but is coming off of a major injury and it remains to be seen whether or not the Steelers have interest in re-signing him.

Either Essex or Scott could be kept as a one-year stopgap for Marcus Gilbert.

Smith would be the more difficult cut given his long history with the Steelers. Finishing the season injured three of the past four years could make him expendable though. That and the emergence of Ziggy Hood.

Hood developed into a very effective player in December and January and could start if needed.

While these moves would weaken Pittsburgh, they would also help give Kevin Colbert and company freedom in the free agent market.


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