Steelers beat writers Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette have been posting comments this morning received in interviews with Steelers GM Kevin Colbert on Twitter regarding the future of the team and, in particular, Hines Ward and Rashard Mendenhall.
GM Kevin Colbert said that no decision has been made about Hines Ward's future with the team. Colbert that no decision made on Hines Ward yet, though it's no secret that the Steelers are well-over the salary cap and need to trim as much as possible by March 1st, per the Rule of 51.
Colbert also said, as I've stated on more than one occasion, there is a good chance Rashard Mendenhall (knee) won't be ready for start of 2012 season and will open the season on the Active PUP list.
Colbert further said that the Steelers won't sign any of their own free agents before start of free agency on March 13 as they work to get under the aforementioned cap.
Steelers are basically not counting on Mendenhall in 2012, as Colbert went on to say regarding this: "I never feel good abut ACL for a year." Especially with the injury happening at the end of the season, his recovery time would extend to approximately the middle of the next season.
Despite Mendenhall's injury status, though, Colbert says running back is not necessarily a need in free agency or upcoming Draft. Actually, the Steelers could easily enter camp with six running backs, led by Isaac Redman, battling for three or four positions.
On other subjects, Colbert says Steelers have work to do to get under cap by Mar 13, the start of free agency, and that none of their own players are likely to be signed before Mar 13, thus all will hit free agency.
Finally, the Steelers could use the franchise tag on WR Mike Wallace, according to Colbert. He, like Art Rooney II, said signing him to a long-term deal is a priority. It would also make the most sense. If the franchise tag is used on Mike Wallace, it should be around $9.4 million, based on comparison of the top-paid players at his position around the league. The Steelers could also tag him to hold him here while a long-term contract is worked between his agent and the organization.