Major changes are coming on the Steelers’ offensive line.
New offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. is believed to favor younger and more athletic linemen, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Max Starks, Ramon Foster and Willie Colon are all likely to leave this offseason. Starks and Foster both become unrestricted free agents next month, while Colon’s base salary jumps from $700,000 in 2012 to $5.5 million in 2013, so he’s likely to be cut.
Those three players combined for 43 starts last season: Starks and Foster both started all 16 games, while Colon started 11. For most teams, losing the majority of your starting offensive line would be a significant concern.
But for the Steelers, it might just be the natural progression of the roster after they used a 2010 first-round pick on Maurkice Pouncey, a 2011 second-round pick on Marcus Gilbert, a 2012 first-round pick on David DeCastro and a 2012 second-round pick on Mike Adams. When you’ve devoted those kinds of draft picks to offensive linemen, you’re making plans to part ways with your veterans.
Now it’s Bicknell’s job to take what will be among the youngest offensive lines in the league next season and mold them into a unit that can get the Steelers’ running game going and keep Ben Roethlisberger upright.