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First off, I never, ever do this. But I am bored out of my mind with this off-season. Tear up my mock offseason, but go easy on my mock draft -- I probably know who 2 of the players are (and that's most likely super generous. I'll be drafting for position mostly, not name). In terms of $ Savings, I am using some estimates. I'm not pulling the Top 51 out and using a blended number from some of Dave's work at SD (Tuitt and Heyward save $11M by his math on restructures, Spotrac says its only $8M), Spotrac, and researching like deals for first year cap hits. Honestly, Im trying not to dive into the weeds with the money to keep the off-season looking more clean buy happy to discuss my thoughts further in comments. Annnnd we are off:

Starting Cap Point: -$15M

Cuts: $4M saved
- Vince Williams (Spillane can do the job, we saw that last year) $4M saved

Restructures/Fake Extensions: $36M saved
- Big Ben fake extension (would love to not do it, but....) $14M saved
- Decastro Extension: $5M saved
- Nelson Extension: $5M saved
- Cam and Tuitt restructure: $11M saved
- Boswell restructure: $1M saved

- My biggest stretch .... Extend/Pay Cut Joe Haden for 2 years, Save $7M. I'm sell Joe on ending his career as a Steeler, but saying we have to draw a line financially. If he doesn't take it, it's a cut....but I think he enjoys it here, So I am hoping he takes it. If he doesn't....we get even more cash to play with. 

Total Saved: $40M
Rookie Pool: $7M
Cap Space Estimate: $18M

Free Agency: $15.35
- Matt Feiler (surprise!), RT: 3yrs/$18M, first year cap $2.5
- Zach Banner, LT(?), 2 years, $8M, first year cap $1.9 (Aka, the Chickillo)
- [Projected Cut] BJ Finney, C/G, 2 years, $3M, first year cap $1.25
- Mike Hilton SCB, 4 years, $34M, first year cap $4.5
- Cam Sutton [Enter position here], 4 years, $32M, first year cap $4
- Tyson Alualu, NT, 1 year, $1.2m

Reminder that I am not trying to get too in the weeds with the bottom part of the roster and updating the top 51 here. Names like Ray Ray and Dangerfield are guys I expect back at the bare minimum. Expect to see those names in the depth chart, but Im not putting estimates by them here. 

Remaining Cap: $2.65M

FA Recap: I completed my goals - be okay with the OLine and retain the D. No, its not full of pro bowlers, but I am very comfortable with Average-to-Good starter at RT in Feiler at a good price, Good starter in Decastro, a guy I think will star in Dotson, giving Banner/Chuks the LT competition, and ....well, we are Meh at C (but that's the drafts focus). Defense, I could honestly say I am very happy with all 12 starters (ILB and SCB are separated), not just for this year but the next 2 years. I wanted to retain the D and focus all my efforts on retooling the offense. I don't think the offense is far away from a good team, but it needs a talent infusion. Im okay with Snell and McFarland attempting to be a 1-2 punch, but if I can find THEEE guy in the draft, I would pull the trigger. The FA pool is also big enough where I could see a guy like Connor back on the minimum, but I would wait to see how things shake out after the draft. In all honesty, I do not give a bleep about the TE position. Hate that Ebron is the #1, but this position sucks league wide. Im not pouring resources into it to get a below average player. Blame OT's, WR, and Edge players. Aint no high school player excited about being a tight end when they can trim down, bulk up, or switch sides of the ball with eyes towards being a $20M per year guy. 

Draft Focus: As I just commented, focus on infusing talent to the offense, but below are the three bucket I put position into. 
- Needs: C, TE, RB - These are the only positions I am not comfortable enough to play NFL games with a real starter
- Wants: T, DL, IOL, S
- If talent falls: QB, Edge, CB, ILB
- Desperately trying to avoid: Mid-Round RB, top 4 round WR, any QB after round 2, P, K 

My rules for my draft, using a simulator and just going by their board. Im not going to try to break away from it much (a la, scrolling 5 pages to find a position I like. I'll try to force myself to pick within their top 10 players available at my picks -- again, Im focusing on picking positionally, I don't know the players that well. Also, while I think trades are fun, I dont like to mock them. I think it's unrealistic and it takes two to tango. 

Draft Results:
1.24: Jalen Mayfield, OT Michigan
        - Alright, well. Not super excited, but I think we got a bright up side player. Could have gotten Mac Jones or Travis Etienne, but went with the RS SO with upside. I dont have a place for him immediately, which is why I lack excitement here. Between Banner/Chuks competition we may not even need a LT if Banner crushes it. Oh well, here's the future. 
2.55: Landon Dickerson, IOL Alabama
       - Got really worried watching some C go off the board, but got one of the dudes I wanted. Finney's the starter until Dickerson kicks him out. No more sub 300 C. 
3.87: Tommy Tremble, TE Notre Dame
     - Tight End....hooray?
4.128: Marvin Wilson, IDL Florida State
     - This player plays the DL
4.141 Daelin Hayes, Edge/LB Notre Dame
      
- Notes
6.217 Jaelon Darden, WR North Texas
     - Missed out on the dude from UNC in the 4th by a handful of picks, but this ones for Canada. Slot, return game, jet's, etc
7.240 Rachad Wildgoose Jr., CB Wisconsin
     - Im here for the name
7.249 Tuf Borland, ILB Ohio State
      - This is the Tyler/Vince ILB pick

Draft Recap: Well, did what I came here to do. Got my future C (hopefully) and a #2 TE. Depth and ST's fill out the rest of the draft and hope that we really knock the first pick out of the park after he redshirts a year. Little bummed we didn't get a more impactful player, but I think it sets us up well for the future.

Depth Chart:
QB: Ben, Mason, Haskins
RB: Snell, McFarland, Samuels/Edmunds, UDFA
FB: Watt
WR: Johnson, Claypool, Washington, Ray-Ray, Darden
TE: Ebron, Tremble, Radar
LT: Banner, Mayfield
LG: Dotson, Hassenauer
OC: Finney, Dickerson
RG: Decastro
RT: Feiler, Chuks

DE: Cam, Tuitt, Mondeaux, Wilson
NT: Alualu, Davis
OLB: Watt, Highsmith, Ola, Elliot, Hayes
ILB: Bush, Spillane, Gilbert, Allen, Borland
CB: Haden, Nelson, Hilton, Sutton, Layne, Pierre
S: Minkah, Edmunds, Dangerfield

P: Enter any name here
K: Boswell
LS: Canaday

General Notes:
- This is based on the $180M number. At that number, good bye JuJu, but if that numbers gets closer to $185M, I would make a run. 
- Still other options in getting more money, the big one being a TJ extension. If I could manage it, I would try to keep the years of control right now though. We can work out an extension next off-season. 
- Haden is the big question mark. Actually had a lot of opportunity to get S/CB early in the draft, but passed because we have our 5 spots locked down with starters and Sutton in the wings as a do it all. I just don't see the room. But if we cut Haden for money (sup JuJu?) I think we have some opportunity in the draft. 
- Ive been big on the letting Chuks and Banner take the T and drafting one of their replacements. The more I think about the articles saying Banner at LT, the more I think the right move is to sign Feiler (who is an average to good RT) and just worry about 1 T spot. Fortunately and unfortunately for me, I got a good prospect for LT, but now I wish I woulda let Feiler walk and went for JuJu. Hindsight though, so what can ya do?
- RB is a rough spot, but they drafted Snell and McFarland for a reason, so it's time to see what they can do. Worse case scenario I think there will be plenty of capable bodies on the street after the draft. 
- Best case scenario, we are covered at the OL, WR, DL, LB, DB for the next couple years with capable bodies. I didn't go QB, but I would go all in next year if one falls to our range. I think 2022 will have some options for us, but my focus would 100% be on finding the next QB with draft capital and filling our needs in with FA as the cap goes up. 

Alright, I'm done. Tear it up. 

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Looks very realistic and well thought out.   Nice work.

I dont think Cam Sutton will be back.    Not that I am completely opposed to keeping him.   I think he is a good role player.   But I think he will want an expanded role.

I cannot see us going into next season without grabbing a RB.   Snell isnt good.   At best he is JAG.   A decent UDFA could come in and beat him.  Not saying that will happen, just that I dont think the Steelers will want to go into next season with him at RB1. 

If they dont sign Sutton (which I dont think they will), they would use that money on RB.

Edited by 43M
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Yea, be prepared for the major focus on the offensive side to be a total rebuild of the running game.  Coming into the season without adding a high draft pick RB, adding a FA RB, or (and I wouldn't rule this out) a complete RB room overhaul with Watt and McFarland being the only holdovers.

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Yea something will be done with running game...I’ve been thinking they may go FA route recently with some interesting names out there like Jamal Williams or Mike Davis.

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5 hours ago, 43M said:

I don't think Cam Sutton will be back.    Not that I am completely opposed to keeping him.   I think he is a good role player.   But I think he will want an expanded role.

I can get that. I will say just to expand on the bold, my goal with his and my changes to the Haden contract are for him to BE the guy in the next year or so. I would like Haden in the Nickel/Dime role coming off the bench to play outside and let Sutton move around where I think he is a real weapon. But Sutton would play starter snaps and never come off the field. 

5 hours ago, 43M said:

cannot see us going into next season without grabbing a RB.   Snell isnt good.   At best he is JAG.   A decent UDFA could come in and beat him.  Not saying that will happen, just that I dont think the Steelers will want to go into next season with him at RB1. 

I don't think we will, but I feel like we will get someone post draft, which made it harder for me to predict. I think there are enough names available in a cap shortened season to have guys like Connor, Mack, Breida, or Coleman available for a good price late who might be interested to come here on a one year to be the starter. But I would like to run through the draft first just in case we find our starter. Im not too worried about being able to find an ... err ..."upgrade"...over Snell or McFarland in the off-season, but I would prefer to draft a substantially better option than get one in FA. Unfortunately for me, I missed. 

I think I need about $8M to get JuJu comfortably, potentially $6M (first year cap hit). So any moves I didn't make would have went towards making that one. RB was way down the list in FA. 

Edited by Dcash4
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1 hour ago, AFF said:

Yea something will be done with running game...I’ve been thinking they may go FA route recently with some interesting names out there like Jamal Williams or Mike Davis.

I really like Jamaal Williams. I think he would be a great guy to come in a be the starter. Good pass catcher, averages over 4 per carry the last two years, low mileage playing second fiddle. I'm a little weary spending money on the position and I think he would ask for more than I would be willing to put forth. 

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7 hours ago, Dcash4 said:

I really like Jamaal Williams. I think he would be a great guy to come in a be the starter. Good pass catcher, averages over 4 per carry the last two years, low mileage playing second fiddle. I'm a little weary spending money on the position and I think he would ask for more than I would be willing to put forth. 

Maybe...ton of decent FA RB after looking at list and pretty solid draft class to boot.

I just think they’ll either fill RB in FA before draft or if they don’t, they’ll take an RB in fairly high.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know why I have it in my head that we can't link articles from somewhere like Steelers Depot, but I also don't want to lookup the rules right now... but it had a good article describing what is actually needed in terms of cap space for the rookie draft pool. I had in my estimates above at the the $7M number (total[ish] number needed for the entire pool), but in reality with displacement it rings in around $1.7M. Just thought that was interesting around this year to share. 

So, if that's the case, and I net another ~$5M...

...sup JuJu?

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10 minutes ago, Dcash4 said:

I don't know why I have it in my head that we can't link articles from somewhere like Steelers Depot, but I also don't want to lookup the rules right now... but it had a good article describing what is actually needed in terms of cap space for the rookie draft pool. I had in my estimates above at the the $7M number (total[ish] number needed for the entire pool), but in reality with displacement it rings in around $1.7M. Just thought that was interesting around this year to share. 

So, if that's the case, and I net another ~$5M...

...sup JuJu?

I got a growing feeling he’s gonna be back. SD also showed a way to pay him with a year 1 hit of $8mil. 

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1 hour ago, warfelg said:

I got a growing feeling he’s gonna be back. SD also showed a way to pay him with a year 1 hit of $8mil. 

Ha I didn’t see that, but that’s the exact number I’ve thought they needed. I’ll have to look that up. 

I know some are down on JuJu Smith-Switzer, but I think Canada is going to help remember he was a really good Z. At least, If your paying $16m per, I hope they use him more on the outside like the did in year 1 and 2. 

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7 minutes ago, Dcash4 said:

Ha I didn’t see that, but that’s the exact number I’ve thought they needed. I’ll have to look that up. 

I know some are down on JuJu Smith-Switzer, but I think Canada is going to help remember he was a really good Z. At least, If your paying $16m per, I hope they use him more on the outside like the did in year 1 and 2. 

I really think Claypool is the guy that changes things for him both inside and outside. The issue is they see Johnson as an X or Y only and not a Z, then Claypool is for sure an X or Y. The only other guy that can do some Z things is Washington. 
 

If they can use Johnson as a Z, Juju at the X, Claypool at the Y then they really stress the defense with a 3 level WR in Juju that is a tough tackle out on an island, the ultra slippery Johnson on the inside, and the blow the top off Claypool necessitating coverage rolled his way. 

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3 hours ago, warfelg said:

I really think Claypool is the guy that changes things for him both inside and outside. The issue is they see Johnson as an X or Y only and not a Z, then Claypool is for sure an X or Y. The only other guy that can do some Z things is Washington. 
 

If they can use Johnson as a Z, Juju at the X, Claypool at the Y then they really stress the defense with a 3 level WR in Juju that is a tough tackle out on an island, the ultra slippery Johnson on the inside, and the blow the top off Claypool necessitating coverage rolled his way. 

I would love to see Claypool more in the slot. Honestly, I’d like to see DJ there too. 

They blew so much smoke about how these guys were interchangeable then in game it was JuJu in the slot, DJ at the X, and Claypool/Washington at the Z. Juju had 82% of his snaps from the slot. That’s too much for him, especially in that dink and dunk offense. Claypool had 10% and DJ only 7%. 

I just really wasn’t to see this team match personnel traits and match ups together more moving forward, not just JuJu is in the slot because JuJu is the slot. Got a defense you wanna attack seams on? Juju and Claypool are perfect working here middle intermediate to deep. Single high? Claypool in the slot on overs and 6’s, JuJu with the rail back shoulder game, and DJ...well, just being DJ. Heavy man with a weak slot guy? Let DJ roast em. 

If JuJus back it’s a really nice receiving core of quality Jack-of-all’s, not single spot masters. I just hope Canada can use them better and maximize their skills. 

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