PITTSBURGH — No want to inform Pittsburgh Steelers president Artwork Rooney II in regards to the difficulties of discovering transcendent abilities.

He has seen three absurdly good gamers — linebacker Ryan Shazier, large receiver Antonio Brown and working again Le’Veon Bell — lead his staff to victories solely to go away the lineup, probably for good.

When requested about losing top-15 gamers similar to these, Rooney acknowledged the apparent with the commerce dialogue round Brown: Talent prevails.

The Steelers know they may play with out both of these guys in 2019. Justin Berl/Getty Photos

“That is one cause why we have not made any selections on Antonio but,” Rooney stated in a Wednesday interview with a small group of native reporters.

Free translation: All-Execs are actually exhausting to discover, regardless of how tough. That is why any trade for Brown should produce critical draft capital. And the Steelers are hemorrhaging top talent. As a result, this offseason is shaping up to be a take a look at of mettle for a corporation that should strengthen the roster on the fly.

The loss of Shazier to a extreme spinal harm in late 2017, coupled with Bell’s yearlong holdout and the seemingly inevitable commerce of Brown, are practically unattainable to substitute on the floor. Shazier desires to proceed rehabbing for a return to soccer, and the Steelers plan to assist him with that, however he isn’t within the plans for the 2019 roster.

To make sure, the Steelers are ok to win video games with out these gamers. And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who’s due an extension this offseason, provides Pittsburgh an opportunity in each sport.

With a bit creativity, they are often proper again in rivalry.

They’ve $27.72 million in wage-cap area, in accordance to OverTheCap.com. They’ll create extra with roster cuts and restructuring the ultimate 12 months on Roethlisberger’s deal.

“We have now lots to issues to consider,” Rooney stated. “Having a bit additional cap area at all times helps, that is for certain.”

Rooney stated the Steelers be ok with their working-again lineup with “two good, younger gamers” in James Conner and Jaylen Samuels. The Steelers have not made a agency choice on whether or not to place the franchise tag on Bell for a 3rd consecutive 12 months, however Conner made a Professional Bowl in his first season as a starter and Samuels is a pure move-catcher. They’ll roll with these two gamers if Bell’s scenario has change into too explosive.

“We really feel like we’re in fairly good condition there,” Rooney stated. “The linebacker place remains to be one thing we’d like to handle. It is a problem, little question about it.”

That is the place the Brown commerce may assist. Maybe leveraging Brown for a primary-spherical choose may assist the Steelers land a top linebacker similar to LSU’s Devin White. Getting a primary-rounder, although, is hardly a assure for a receiver turning 31 in July, regardless of how nice.

Rooney would really like to see extra turnovers created on protection and enchancment within the secondary. A rangy inside linebacker to pair with Vince Williams would supply stability to the entrance seven.

Life with out Bell and Brown will quell the storylines popping out of Pittsburgh’s locker room however damage the staff’s talent quotient.

As Rooney factors out, the staff has seen large personalities come and go.

“We work exhausting to attempt to deliver folks right here who’re an excellent match,” Rooney stated. “However individuals are totally different, and we’ve had some totally different characters right here and there over time. … If there are classes to be realized right here, we’ll take a look at that and see if we will do higher.”

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