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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: March 31

Let's get to it:

VAL MCMORRIS FROM TYLER, TX: I read Patriots Coach Bill Belichick has a losing record without Tom Brady starting at quarterback. What's Coach Mike Tomlin's record when Ben Roethlisberger didn't start at quarterback?
ANSWER: Since Coach Mike Tomlin was hired in early 2007 through the end of the 2021 season, his record in games when Ben Roethlisberger was not the Steelers' starting quarterback is 18-15-1. Just as a side note, there was one game where Roethlisberger did not start but came on in relief of Landry Jones to help the Steelers to a victory over Cleveland.

JASON GODFREY FROM ENOREE, SC: In reference to the question about Coach Mike Tomlin having dinner with Malik Willis. Do you know if coaches share information on prospects? Is it "loose lips sink ships," or do coaches use the respect for each other and talk about players?
ANSWER: All due respect here, but the NFL is a professional sports business. Do you think McDonald's shares the details of their special sauce with Burger King? Or KFC just ponies up the breakdown of its 11 herbs and spices with Popeyes? Your "loose lips sink ships" is a World War II reference, but in the NFL "loose lips" can get you fired.

AL WARNER FROM E. SPRINGFIELD, PA: Is Ryan Shazier still involved with the Steelers organization in any capacity?
ANSWER: He is not.

MARK DiGIOVANNA FROM LIBERTY HILL, TX: Since you have said you would not take a quarterback in the draft after we signed Mitch Trubisky, and the Steelers have said that they plan to go into camp with four quarterbacks, is there someone in later rounds or in free agency you would like to see the Steelers go after and why?
ANSWER: When I said I would not draft a quarterback, I meant in any round, not just the first round. And I'm definitely not wasting salary cap space on a player who essentially would serve as a fourth arm for training camp. An undrafted rookie can handle that role.

FRANK FERRI FROM COZUMEL, MEXICO: Do you think the Steelers will need to use the franchise tag this year? If so, on whom might it be used?
ANSWER: That ship has sailed, and without the Steelers on board. The deadline for using the franchise tag was March 8.

DAVID AGOSTA FROM LITTLETON, CO: If a player is on a rookie contract and is traded or released, would another team picking him up assume his rookie contract or have to negotiate with him? Are all rookie contracts the same or can there be performance bonuses and other variations on some?
ANSWER: When a team acquires any player in a trade or via a waiver claim, the new team inherits that player's contract. If a team signs a player who was released, that team and player are free to negotiate a new contract that then must adhere to the rules for compensation set out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Rookie contracts are slotted based on the player's draft position. There really is no need for the team to sweeten the deal with incentives.

PATRICK CHARLES FROM GILLETTE, WY: Are the Steelers going to offer Tyrann Mathieu a contract? With our inability to stop the run why not sign Bobby Wagner?
ANSWER: At this stage of free agency, Tyrann Mathieu probably wouldn't accept what the Steelers would be willing/able to offer in a contract. Myles Jack already was signed to help with the run defense. Expect him to be paired at inside linebacker alongside Devin Bush.

HERBERT ROBINSON FROM UNIONTOWN, PA: When will the Pittsburgh Steelers schedule be out, so I can put it on my phone as my wallpaper?
ANSWER: At this point, in late March, the exact date when the NFL will release its 2022 regular season schedule is unknown, but if the league holds to some of its recent procedures there is a way to make a guess. Last year, the schedule was released on May 12, which was on a Wednesday that fell 12 days after the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft. If the NFL follows the same pattern, the release date of the 2022 NFL schedule would be on May 11, which is a Wednesday that falls 12 days after the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft. The 2022 NFL season will include 17 games spread over an 18-week period, with the first game coming on Thursday, Sept. 8 (a matchup between the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams and an as yet undetermined opponent at SoFi Stadium), with the rest of the NFL opening on Sunday or Monday, Sept. 11-12. The 2022 season will end on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023, with Super Bowl LVII played at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ.

JOHN BARICKMAN FROM UNIONTOWN, OH: Do the Steelers change who they would choose in the draft based on who other teams in the division draft? For example, this year if Baltimore would draft Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis or Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson in the first round, would the Steelers then put a heavier weight on selecting either a center or a cornerback early?
ANSWER: No. Teams approach the draft with the idea of improving themselves, their roster. Worrying about what other teams are doing just distorts the process. For example, let's pretend the Steelers perceive themselves as needing a top-of-the-depth-chart cornerback, but after Baltimore picks a run-stuffing nose tackle, the Steelers change their mind and select an interior offensive lineman. Then what happens if the Ravens don't make the playoffs, and the Steelers find themselves in the postseason against an opponent with a high-powered passing attack? They're going to need that cornerback they passed on because the Ravens picked a defensive lineman. You pick the players your team needs to become a contender, and then you worry about other teams when you have to line up and play them.

MICHAEL ZIEGLER FROM LITTLE FERRY, NJ: What salary cap room do we save by releasing Eric Ebron, Terrell Edmunds, and Trai Turner? It seems like it should be enough to pony up for a contract extension for Minkah Fitzpatrick and sign Tyrann Mathieu to a two-year deal.
ANSWER: Ah, no. Eric Ebron, Terrell Edmunds, and Trai Turner all became unrestricted free agents on March 16, which means they no longer are under contract to the Steelers. Players not under contract to a team count exactly zero on the salary cap.

ANDREW MOSKOWITZ FROM PURDYS, NY: I know you hate questions about position switches but was wondering if this one might have some merit. If Terrell Edmunds is lost and not replaced in free agency, would a move of Devin Bush to strong safety make sense? Maybe in nickel or dime packages only?
ANSWER: Any chance you were one of the people who were making me crazy some years ago for suggesting the Steelers do this very thing with Ryan Shazier?

MARK SHAFFER FROM MIDDLETOWN, DE: I haven't heard any talk about wide receiver Anthony Miller. With his experience with Mitch Trubisky, he seems like a nice option for that wide receiver we need. What do you think?
ANSWER: You mean along the same lines as based on the experience James Washington and Mason Rudolph shared in college at Oklahoma State, Washington would have a nice chemistry with Rudolph?

JOHN VINCENT FROM CONNEAUT, OH: It's being reported by the Cleveland media that when Baker Mayfield becomes available that the Steelers will "pounce" on him. Why would the Steelers be interested in Mayfield?
ANSWER: Who says they are? And it's not the whole Cleveland media, it was one member of the media covering the Browns.