Steelers Using Addition by Subtraction?
With NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reporting that the team is ready to move away from Troy Polamalu, the Steelers look to be at the end of an era.
Players like Polamalu, Brett Keisel, and Ike Taylor likely have seen their last days in Pittsburgh. While Keisel held his own, the play of the two secondary veterans certainly showed significant drop off.
The Steelers will have no choice but to go through some growing pains without these players. They’ll be forced to start younger, less experienced players. However, that’s how young players get experience.
In 2010, the Steelers traded Santonio Holmes in the hope that Mike Wallace would emerge as a legitimate receiving threat. Wallace’s success, and drafting Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, led to the departure of pro bowler and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward.
The belief in Brown becoming a number one receiver allowed the team to let Wallace walk in free agency after the 2012 season.
Emmanuel Sanders left last year in free agency and Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant filled in very well.
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In the end, these players would not have had the chance to emerge if the Steelers had allowed them to simply sit behind veterans on the depth chart.
Releasing and not re-signing veterans and fan favorites is something the Steelers aren’t shy about. The hope is that the roles that will need to be filled will be filled by young and capable players on the rise. Not older players on the decline.
With all of the veteran talent on the Steelers the past few years, it is difficult for young, unproven players to see the field. Martavis Bryant showed that this could be a thing of the past.
Getting rid of some veteran players may be what the Steelers’ roster needs, allowing some younger players–including those yet to be drafted–to get on the field. That hasn’t happened all that often in recent years.