Steelers' Colbert promises changes

It sounds like the Steelers' underachieving 8-8 season was a wake-up call for general manager Kevin Colbert.

"When you're 12-4 and a playoff team, sometimes you get mesmerized by your success and you get a little reluctant to change," Colbert told Pittsburgh reporters, via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "If we don't change a roster that produced 8-8, we'd be silly to expect a better result."

You have to applaud Colbert for not thinking that the status quo is going to get the Steelers to rebound next season. But, beyond Colbert's surly words, this isn't really news. It would be news if the Steelers weren't making changes.

Even before Colbert spoke, it was safe to assume free agents such as wide receiver Mike Wallace, nose tackle Casey Hampton, offensive tackle Max Starks, inside linebacker Larry Foote and guard Ramon Foster would all be elsewhere next season. The Steelers don't have the salary cap room to keep them and they have replacements lined up in receiver Emmanuel Sanders, nose tackle Steve McLendon, offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert and guard David DeCastro.

It's also expected that guard Willie Colon ($5.5 million salary) won't be back and a decision will have to be made with outside linebacker James Harrison ($6.57 million). So, there could be between seven to eight starters who likely will be gone from last year's team.

But it's not like the Steelers are going to be turning over the roster by adding players in free agency. That's not their way and they are a projected $10 million over the cap.

The Post-Gazette reported that it doesn't look like the Steelers will offer any of their soon-to-be free agents any contracts before they hit the market on March 12. The only free agent that should draw interest from the Steelers is cornerback Keenan Lewis. But it's been reported that the Steelers are considering re-signing running back Rashard Mendenhall.

"We won't know what an individual player will cost until he gets out there," Colbert said. "Going into this thing, we're not married to anybody."

Last year, there was a debate on whether or not the Steelers would be putting the franchise tag on Wallace. Colbert said it's "very doubtful" that Pittsburgh will use the tag this offseason.

"I don't think we have too many franchise players," he added.

Judging by the way Colbert sounds, the Steelers could be in store for more changes next year if they fail to meet expectations.