Let's get to it:
DON ADAMS FROM BUENA PARK, CA: With Bill Cowher, Troy Polamalu, and Donnie Shell going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, how many Steelers now are enshrined? When I looked it up on the Hall of Fame's website, it named more people than I thought. Could you supply an accurate list, please?
ANSWER: The following text is taken directly from ProFootballHOF.com, and it describes how the Pro Football Hall of Fame determines which players, coaches, and contributors "belong" to each team: "Hall of Famers who made the major part of their primary contribution for any one club are listed in bold. In cases where a player contributed about equally and/or in a major way to two or more clubs – he is listed in bold under both clubs (i.e., Gary Zimmerman is listed with both the Vikings and the Broncos as his primary teams). Hall of Famers who spent only a minor portion of their career with any club are listed under that club in normal font."
When it comes to the Steelers, and the Class of 2020 has not been included in any team's totals because those individuals have not been inducted officially, the Pro Football Hall of Fame lists 21 individuals "who made the major part of their primary contribution" to the Steelers franchise. Those 21 include: Art Rooney Sr., Bill Dudley, Bobby Layne, Chuck Noll, Dan Rooney, Dermontti Dawson, Ernie Stautner, Franco Harris, Jack Butler, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Joe Greene, John Henry Johnson, Jerome Bettis, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann, Mel Blount, Mike Webster, Rod Woodson, Terry Bradshaw, and Walt Kiesling. The only franchises with more than the Steelers' 21 are the Decatur Staleys/Chicago Bears with 28, and the Green Bay Packers with 25. The New York Football Giants also are listed with 21.
Once the totals from the Class of 2020 are included, the Bears will be first with 30, the Packers will be next with 26, the Steelers will have 24, and the Giants will have 22.
MARK MEYERS FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: What do you think about the Steelers bringing in a guy like Frank Gore for cheap to solidify the running back position?
ANSWER: What do I think about the Steelers adding a running back who will be 37 years old on May 14 and has 3,548 NFL carries on his body? I think that would be insane.
NEIL GLASSER FROM MANALAPAN, NJ: You referenced Paxton Lynch and J.T. Barrett as contenders for the No. 3 quarterback spot on the depth chart. What are your thoughts on Devlin Hodges? Coach Mike Tomlin seemed a bit dismissive of him in his year-end press conference. Should we take something from that?
ANSWER: Allow me to be clear: I was asked to PREDICT who I thought would make up the quarterback depth chart at the start of the 2020 season, and my GUESS was that it would be Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, and either Paxton Lynch or J.T. Barrett. If the question had been about contenders for the No. 3 quarterback job, I would have listed Devlin Hodges along with Lynch and Barrett, and I would've listed Hodges first because he actually was on the active roster in 2019 while the other two were not. My thoughts on Hodges are what they have been from the start – that he lacks some of the necessary measurables to be a winning quarterback in the NFL, such as arm strength. That doesn't mean he cannot be the quarterback for a team that wins an NFL game or even a few games, but there are too many other things that have to be perfect for it to happen, and the idea that it all can happen consistently isn't realistic. And Coach Mike Tomlin's assessment is way, way, way more significant than mine.
JAMES SNOWDEN FROM LATROBE, PA: Ok, I know the quarterback discussion has been done to death, but if you were a general manager, how would this scenario sit with you: A trade with the Dolphins, where Steelers send a sixth- or seventh-round pick and Devlin Hodges to Miami for Josh Rosen. Rosen would still be under team control for two more years and have time to sit behind Ben Roethlisberger, and the Dolphins would recoup at least a low draft pick and a No. 3 quarterback with game and winning experience?
ANSWER: I hate it from both sides. From the Steelers' side, Mason Rudolph is better than Josh Rosen, whose combined stat line for two NFL teams looks like this: 3-13 record as a starter, 54.8 completion percentage, 12 touchdowns, 19 interceptions, 61 sacks, and a 63.5 passer rating. From the Dolphins' side, Rosen is way better than Devlin Hodges, and as you point out, Rosen is under team control for two more years. The one thing about which you are absolutely right – the quarterback discussion has been done to death. So please, let it rest in peace.
JOHNNY SCHMIDT FROM NEW MATAMORAS, OH; What would be wrong with the Steelers using a late-round pick to trade for Josh Rosen? We have a history of trading with the Dolphins, and they are going to draft a quarterback in Round 1.
ANSWER: Your self-described history of trading with the Dolphins includes all of one transaction, and as I pointed out in the previous answer, Mason Rudolph is better than Josh Rosen. Re-read the previous answer for Rosen's statistics, and then compare them with Rudolph's: 5-3 record as a starter, 62.2 completion percentage, 13 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 15 sacks, and an 82.0 passer rating. And again, what makes that a good trade for the Dolphins?
DAVID HAYES FROM HARTSELLE, AL: With Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick as the starting safeties, does Sean Davis hang around as a backup? He once was a second-round pick and a starter. Do you see a scenario for Davis to be back with the Steelers? If Davis is not back is this a trade or salary cap cut?
ANSWER: Sean Davis can become an unrestricted free agent on March 18, and I suspect some team will make him an offer to compete for a starting job, which he will accept and then leave of his own accord. There is no trade, nor a move to cut him, because an unrestricted free agent is a player without a contract and free to sign with any other team in the NFL. As Mike Tomlin says often about free agency: "It's free for them, and it's free for us."
CARLOS ARVIZU FROM MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: What would be the compensation for Bud Dupree if he is franchise tagged? Is there a big difference between exclusive and non-exclusive franchise tag compensation?
ANSWER: Players have until 11:59 p.m. on March 12 to vote on the owners' proposal for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and until that is determined there are a lot of things on hold. Among those are the amount of the salary cap per team, and the franchise tag and transition tag amounts for players at the various positions. So until March 13, we won't know what those numbers are. Stay tuned.
DAVE HORCHAK FROM CHERRY TREE, PA: If the Steelers apply the non-exclusive franchise tag on Bud Dupree, and a team makes an offer that the Steelers don't want to match they get two first-round draft picks as compensation. What if the offering team does not have two first-round draft picks?
ANSWER: Those draft picks don't come in the same year. It would be a first-round pick in each of the two drafts that follow the original team not matching the offer sheet. If a team looking to make an offer to a franchise tagged player does not have a first-round draft pick in each of the two drafts that follow said transaction, then it could not extend the offer sheet to the player.
MARSHA STEVENSON FROM LEEDS, UK: If Pittsburgh doesn't wind up re-signing Bud Dupree, where do you think General Manager Kevin Colbert will look for a replacement: through the draft, through free agency, or by trading for a replacement?
ANSWER: That's not a question for 2020 because Bud Dupree will be under the Steelers' control for the upcoming season one way or another. If the Steelers at some point would be in the market for a replacement, they would most likely look to draft that replacement.
BRUCE BATTAGLIA FROM PHOENIX, AZ: I will be traveling home to visit the family this month. Are there any public tours available at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex?
ANSWER: There are not public tours available at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, but there are tours available at Heinz Field from April-through-October. Details are available at HeinzField.com.
KARL THOMPSON FROM ABERDEEN, SD: What is your take on cutting Stephon Tuitt? Now I know he has been good when he's healthy, but he literally hasn't started every game in a season in his entire career. I could see Pittsburgh cutting him and trying to get a more reliable person in his place.
ANSWER: My take? You win. I have read some hare-brained suggestions/ideas for this installment of Asked and Answered, but yours takes the cake. And one point of clarification: As a rookie, Tuitt wasn't yet a full-time starter, but he did play in all 16 regular season games that season.