- DE Aaron Smith - clears up about $3 million in cap room, set to be a free agent anyway
- NT Chris Hoke - old and we have a solid young player in Steve McClendon
- QB Charlie Batch - very old and very frail at this point
- NT Casey Hampton - sixth highest cap charge at $8 million
- WR Hines Ward - currently has a $4.6 million cap charge
- ILB Larry Foote - gets paid $0.2 million less than Farrior, who's the starter and defensive captain. No way he keeps his $3.6 million cap charge.
- QB Ben Roethlisberger - he's set to have over $16 million in cap charge. There's always a little adjusting that can be done.
- QB Byron Leftwich - he knows the system, likes the team, and with his age and recent injuries, I doubt he finds a good offer elsewhere; relatively cheap too
- OT Max Starks - he'll be cheap due to his injury and age, and wouldn't have to be a starter for us, with the return of Colon and Gilbert (hopefully) flipping over to the left side.
- CB William *** - cheap corner, will go down the depth chart with the expected emergence of Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen, who the team is supposedly really
high on. He wasn't bad at all, but he isn't a great corner either. Good depth.
- WR Mike Wallace - our best receiver, I think they lock him up long-term sometime during the summer.
- TE David Johnson - great blocker, below average receiver, but he's improving, and we don't really have any other "lead" blocker on our roster.
- OL Doug Legursky - solid at center, not really at guard, but he's cheap and we could definitely do worse. I don't expect him to compete for a starting gig.
- OG Ramon Foster - starter at RG right now, expect him to be back.
- CB Keenan Lewis - came on this season, will stay to keep developing.
- S Ryan Mundy - only safety depth we have, no way he leaves.
- RB Isaac Redman - backup runner, fantastic short yardage back, consistently gets the job done when his number is called.
- NT Steve McClendon - only depth we've got and he's played pretty well when he has to step in for an injured player. No star, but solid.
- P Jeremy Kapinos - only punter we've got, we have to keep him.
- QB Dennis Dixon - wants to play and that won't happen here; didn't really develop too well either
- WR Jerricho Cotchery - we were fortunate to land him because of an injury; he's not too old (29) and would probably play more on another team, with our young receivers being the clear starters.
- OL Trai Essex - we've got plenty of younger players who can play all positions, so he's easily expendable.
- P Daniel Sepulveda - Sad to say this, but I genuinely think this is the end of the line for Seppy. I really liked him, but due to his constant knee injuries, I think the team will finally move on and stick with Kapinos for the time being. Maybe he gets invited to camp.
- RB Mewelde Moore - no need for him, really. Mendenhall is the starter, Redman is the backup, Batch is the 3rd down back, and Dwyer and Clay are backup runners. Between all those guys, there is nothing Mewelde does better at this point in his career. He's got Tomlin's trust and doesn't fumble a lot, but those aren't really good reasons for keeping him on the roster instead of one of the younger players.
- CB Anthony Madison - I loved this guy as a ST ace for us, but he's no longer needed and was just signed for ST help during the playoff game.
- OT Jamon Meredith - did nothing, no reason for him to return.
- OG Chris Kemoeatu - I've wanted him gone for a while now, more because of his cap charge than his play, really; not too bad a guard, he's average-to-below average at best, but he's taking up more than $5 million a year, and that is waaay to much for him. Furthermore, the fact that his best asset is pulling and he's constantly got a knee banged up doesn't help.
- WR Arnaz Battle - virtually no participation as a receiver, takes about $1.5 million in cap room.
- CB Bryant McFadden - did absolutely nothing this year, and he won't do anything in the future either. Takes up $2.6 million in cap room.
- OT Jonathan Scott - has a $2.7 million cap charge, but probably won't be starting next year. I'd rather have an older but cheaper Starks over him.
- OG Carl Nicks - wishful thinking, I know, but with the cap room saved by releasing the players and restructuring the contracts (I'm guesstimating it's around $15 million) we could have enough to sign him to a large deal that works. Jahri Evans' salary is $6.8 million, and it escalates to $8 million in two years, so I'm guessing something similar could be given to Nicks. $7 the first year, plus bonuses.
1. LB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona - Ray Lewis-like intensity with James Harrison's mentality. As physical as LBers come, would be a wet dream to see him alongside Timmons. If teams prefer Kuechly's smarts over Burficts raw physical power, I could see him sliding to 24.
2. RB Chris Polk, Washington - with Mendenhall's injury and the fact that he's entering the last year of his deal, I wouldn't be surprised to see the team look for another RB. With Richardson and Miller out of the picture (I think both'll go in the first round), I'd like Polk. I've been watching a lot of Polk and Doug Martin right now, and Polk really stands out to me. Martin is shorter and is more compact, like Ray Rice and MJD, but lacks their amazing lateral ability. Polk is more like Matt Forte. Very tough runner, can contribute to the passing game, and breaks a ton of tackles.
3. WR Dwight Jones, UNC - It's clear that our offense revolves around the pass, so why not add another weapon. We've had success with 3rd round wide outs in the past with Wallace and Sanders, let's keep it going. A couple of weeks ago I'd have said that Jones in the 3rd wouldn't happen, but with the talent of players (juniors specifically) that declared, he could potentially fall all the way here. Big target, not the quick guys we have, and physical.
4. TE Michael Egnew, Missouri - all the great passing teams have athletic, pass-catching TE's, we should add one too.
5. OG Rokevious Watkins, South Carolina - O-line depth, maybe compete for the RG spot.
6. WR Travis Benjamin, Miami - fast and quick receiver, also good in the return game
7. OT Josh Oglesby, Wisconsin - OT depth, physical size similar to Max Starks, that would probably be his ceiling.
7. NT Hebron Fangupop, BYU - big bodied NT, probably a 2 down player only, developmental prospect
7. K Carson Wiggs, Purdue - we need a kicker, and I've liked what I've seen from this guy.