What happens now: Steelers aftermath


Andrew Feltz, News Editor

On Sunday, the Denver Broncos defeated the Steelers. Their playoff hopes for the season are over, however their playoff future is just beginning. Unlike when these two teams faced off, with the same result in 2011, the future looks bright for the franchise with the most Super Bowl wins. They weren’t beat in the game by Tim Tebow’s 80-yard touchdown pass at the beginning of overtime. This time, they were without their first string running back, their “second string” running back, the NFL’s best wide receiver, and their quarterback was recovering from a shoulder injury. For the second year in a row, the Steelers were not beat by another NFL roster; they were defeated by injuries. They have a young defense led by Cameron Heyward that got better over the season, and is only beginning to develop into a dynamic squad. They have the NFL’s most feared offense when healthy, and they finally have a kicker who can split the uprights. The Steelers have a bright future awaiting them, but in order to keep it that way they need to do these things this offseason:

  1. Make the secondary a priority: The one weakness of the Steelers this year was their secondary. No question about, they stunk. In this year’s draft, they need to draft four cornerbacks and a safety in their first five picks. They need to be NFL ready, or at the very most one year away, because Antwon Blake just isn’t getting it done. They also need to give Brandon Boykin more playing time, he’s earned it.
  1. Let the injured O-line walk: All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncy and left tackle Kelvin Beachum were injured for most of this season. Didn’t notice? That’s because their replacements just stepped right in and didn’t miss a beat; Beachum was replaced by Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva, and Cody Wallace filled in for Pouncey. Beachum is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and the Steelers should just let him go. Villanueva played just as good, as a rookie, and has the potential to be better; while coming at a much cheaper price. Pouncey is one of the best at his position, but he is injured every season. He is basically paid $8.8 million to where a sweatshirt on the sideline every year. The Steelers should find a way to get rid of him and his contract, keep Wallace, and use the money elsewhere.
  1. Extend Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown: After the 2016 season, Bell will have only one year left on his contract. The Steelers’ running back is arguably the best in the NFL at his position, when healthy, and needs to be locked in for the future. Extend him two or three years, in case of injury. However, the Steelers should pay Brown whatever it takes to keep him in Pittsburgh for life. At his current statistical pace, and if he wins a championship, he will be the best wide out to wear the Black and Gold.