In the span of a month, the Steelers have gone from $25 million over the cap to $10 million under it. This massive slashing resulted in the release of Farrior, wide receiver Hines Ward, defensive end Aaron Smith, guard Chris Kemoeatu, cornerback Bryant McFadden and wide receiver Arnaz Battle.
When assessing the losses, it's not that big of a hit. It takes a chunk of veteran depth off the team, but the Steelers had to start getting younger anyway. The ages of the players cut stand out as much as their salary-cap numbers: Farrior (37), Ward (35), Smith (35) and McFadden (30).
These cuts were painful only in terms of saying goodbye to some players who meant a lot to the Steelers in the past -- Ward, Farrior and Smith -- but who were expendable here in the present. It appears that nose tackle Casey Hampton and linebacker Larry Foote are safe.
Farrior was the only starter released by the Steelers this offseason, but his play had declined so much that he was rotating with backup Larry Foote. The Steelers will miss Farrior's leadership more than his ability to stop the run these days.
Like Ward, Farrior hopes to find a spot with another team. But, like Ward, Farrior might not draw any interest and could ultimately retire.
“James was named one of our captains each of the past eight years, and that speaks volumes to what he has meant to so many great defenses,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “He has been a leader for our defense on the field and an ambassador for the Steelers in the community. We appreciate everything James has done and truly wish him nothing but the best.”