Steelers mail: Will Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, Brett Keisel return?

Here is the first half of the Pittsburgh Steelers mailbag. The rest of it will run Monday. If you have a question please send to @ScottBrown_ESPN with the #mail.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: I think the only way Troy Polamalu returns for another season is if he takes a significant pay cut -- and I'm not sure the eight-time Pro Bowler will be back even if he is amenable to a salary reduction. At some point the Steelers have to move on from aging players no matter how much they have meant to the organization. They did it in 2012 when they not only cut ties with Hines Ward, their all-time leading receiver, but also released linebacker James Farrior and defensive end Aaron Smith. It might be time with the Steelers making a change at defensive coordinator to fully commit to the youngsters on their roster. Of the three you asked about, I actually think Brett Keisel is the most likely to return. It won't surprise me, though, if none is back with the Steelers in 2015.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: It has to be an outside linebacker since Jason Worilds has almost certainly played his last down for the Steelers and the uncertainty at the position in general. The Steelers are not going to use a transition tag on Worlids and have no plans to negotiate with him before the start of free agency. They obviously think they can upgrade at his position and they better do so in free agency since it is too much of a risk to draft a plug-and-play pass rusher. Brandon Graham, Pernell McPhee, Brian Orakpo and Jabaal Sheard are among the outside linebackers headed for unrestricted free agency. To me, Graham is the most interesting one of the group as he is a former first-round pick who has been productive but hasn't received regular snaps because of scheme changes in Philadelphia as well as having other players ahead of him. Graham's combination of youth -- he only turns 27 in April -- and potential should have him on the Steelers' radar.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: He is well on his way to impacting games the way Mike Wallace did in Pittsburgh as a deep threat. Martavis Bryant caught five passes that covered at least 40 yards and three that netted at least 50 as a rookie. The fourth-round draft pick averaged 21.1 yards per catch -- compared to 19.4 yards for Wallace his rookie season in 2009. Bryant isn't as fast as Wallace but he is considerably taller and his combination of size and speed make him a unique talent. Coach Mike Tomlin used to call Wallace a "one-trick pony" as a way to motivate the latter to become a complete wide receiver. Here is what Tomlin said in January when asked if he ever applies that moniker to Bryant: "I am going to stop short of using [those] words, which are complete. I saw growth in him. And that growth came with snaps. I would imagine he is going to get more opportunities to grow with those snaps. The thing is, he has to continue to grow and have an open mind. He has to acknowledge that he doesn't have all the answers." Translation: Bryant better not think he has arrived just because he played so well after not dressing for the first six games of the season. I think Bryant has the desire and will to make a significant jump in his second season, and that would be huge for the Steelers.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: I wouldn't expect major changes. The Steelers will still employ a 3-4 base defense -- and will still place a premium on making offenses one-dimensional by stuffing the run as well as getting after the quarterback. Keith Butler will put his own imprint on the defense and one thing he has said will be a top priority is creating more turnovers. Maybe he plans to make the Steelers more opportunistic by using different blitzes and coverages. Butler's biggest impact in his new role will take place behind closed doors. He will have a significant voice in what defensive players the Steelers signs as free agents and draft. As the linebackers coach he gave his opinion on players at the position he liked or didn't like. Now, Butler will do that with every position on defense.

@ScottBrown_ESPN I'm not sure there is a tight end worth taking No. 22 overall. The position wasn't highly regarded going into the NFL scouting combine and the tight ends did not collectively work out real well in Indianapolis. Minnesota's Maxx Williams is clearly the No. 1 tight end in the class -- I am counting Michigan's Devin Funchess as a wide receiver -- but he looks more like a late first-round or early second-round pick. The Steelers should try to move down if they want Williams but they have to find a trade partner to do that. I would not rule out the Steelers using their first-round pick on an offensive or defensive lineman, particularly the latter. It would not hurt the Steelers to add young talent to a group headed by defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. A big tackle who has the ability to disrupt and could also play defensive end doesn't sound bad at all to me if I am the Steelers. Oregon's Arik Armstead and Texas' Malcolm Brown fit that description and could be first-round targets if the Steelers don't take a defensive back or outside linebacker prospect with the 22nd overall pick.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: Brice McCain. The Steelers' best play, in my opinion, is to re-sign the player they know, the player who is only 28 years old and the player who is coming off a season in which he intercepted a career-high three passes. It isn't shaping up as a great year to find cornerbacks in free agency, which will only drive up the price for those who are regarded as the top available players at the position. Bring back McCain, maybe take a flyer on a low-risk signing like the Steelers did last year with McCain and target an outside linebacker in free agency who can start next season.