NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who said over the weekend that we can expect Ben Roethlisberger to ask for a trade after the season, came through with more Steelers rumors on Thursday. Rapoport reported on “Total Access Kickoff” that there could be “significant turnover” to the Steelers’ offensive coaching staff and defensive secondary. Rapoport also said that safeties Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark have to play “incredibly well” in the final seven games to earn a chance to come back next season.
Polamalu was drafted in the first round by the Steelers in 2003 and has played his entire career in Pittsburgh. He’s a seven-time Pro Bowler, five-time All-Pro, two-time Super Bowl champ and he was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. Despite his ability to make huge hits and game-changing plays, we have pointed out how he sometimes struggles in pass coverage. Just two weeks ago we showed you how faked out he was on a Tom Brady touchdown pass.
Polamalu is set to earn $8.25 million in the final year of his contract next season. If the Steelers release him, that would reportedly count as $2.637 million in dead money against the 2014 salary cap. Unless he agrees to a major discount, we can picture him being released. Don’t be surprised by all this; the Steelers are notoriously frugal and wouldn’t pay big money for a player who they don’t believe is worth it.