Pittsburgh Steelers: The Team's 2012 Free Agents and Odds They'll Stay Put
Now that we are near the conclusion of the 2011 NFL preseason, and with very little money left under the salary cap, odds are the Pittsburgh Steelers are done re-signing potential free agents for this year.
Not that they have not been busy this offseason after re-signing Ike Taylor, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley. The Steelers have set themselves up well for next offseason.
The Steelers will have some tough decisions they are going to have to make, though. They will not be able to keep all the players currently on their roster and sign all their free agents as well. It simply won't be able to happen.
Here's a look at Pittsburgh's 2012 free agents and the odds of them staying in the Steel City.
Troy Polamalu, SS
There is no way on this planet the Steelers are going to let Troy Polamalu leave Pittsburgh. If they somehow do not come to a contract extension prior to Polamalu becoming a free agent, then the Steelers will use the franchise tag on him.
Only way Polamalu does not play for the Steelers is if he retires.
Odds of Staying with the Steelers: 100 percent
Aaron Smith, DE
Though Smith has been an amazing player for the Steelers over the course of his career, Pittsburgh drafting two players at his position during the first round the last three years could spell the end of the line for him.
I believe the only way Smith stays with the Steelers is if he is willing to take league minimum plus incentives.
If Smith is not able to play in 2011 because of any injuries, odds are his career is over.
Odds of Staying with the Steelers: 50 percent
Jerricho Cotchery, WR
This really depends on what happens with Hines Ward this year.
Look, it is obvious Hines is nearing the end of the road. He said himself that if the Steelers would have won the Super Bowl last year, he would have retired. That shows that he is at least considering it.
If Ward does retire, I think Cotchery will be a lock to return for the Steelers. If Ward returns for another season, Cotchery will probably be a one-and-done in Pittsburgh.
Odds of Staying with the Steelers: 25 percent
Dennis Dixon, QB
There is virtually no chance Dennis Dixon is with the Steelers after this year. Had the NFL not had a shortened offseason this year, odds are Dixon would be with another team today.
With the abbreviated offseason, no team was willing to give up a fifth-round pick for Dixon, who wouldn't have had the chance to learn a new system.
In 2012, the Steelers will not be able to restrict the QB's moves, and with a whole offseason, odds are someone will give him a chance.
Odds of Staying with the Steelers: 0 percent
Now that the Steelers have re-signed LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons, they do not have many players who will be free agents next year.
Yes, there are some other players who are going to be free agents next year, but none of whom the Steelers offered more than a one-year contract this offseason. That pretty much means they are expendable.