Let's get to it:
DAN KIRK FROM DANVILLE, OH:
Do the players at the NFL Scouting Combine get paid to participate, and if so how much?
ANSWER: They do not get paid. Consider it similar to a job interview.
MARK DIXON FROM LEWISBERRY, PA:
With the combine going on right now, do most or all of these players get drafted?
ANSWER: Last year, there were 330-some players invited to the Combine, and there were 253 players drafted. And there were some players drafted who weren't invited to the Combine.
ARLENE EMMERT FROM INDIANAPOLIS, IN:
Greetings from Indiana. I'm 17 and a huge Steelers and Asked and Answered fan. I attended the NFL Combine for the first time this year and had lots of fun watching the different players work out. As I know you have no idea who will be drafted by which team, I'm not going to ask you that sort of question, but instead just ask if you had a good time while you were here and your thoughts on the players as a whole? Did any particular position group stick out to you as exceptionally good this year?
ANSWER: People might find this strange, but I really like Indianapolis. The downtown area has a lot of options in terms of hotels, restaurants, and such, and everything is so convenient to everything else. For example, on this particular trip, I didn't need to wear a coat the entire week I was there thanks to the many walkways crisscrossing the downtown area, and I made daily trips between my downtown hotel and the Indiana Convention Center and then onto Lucas Oil Stadium. There is some talk that the NFL will seek to move the Scouting Combine to Los Angeles, maybe as early as 2020 and I will be sad if that happens.
As for this group of Combine participants, I really have no opinion on this group vs. previous groups, and that's primarily because what happens at the Combine isn't necessarily predictive of the kind of NFL career those individuals will have. The Combine isn't football, but it's merely a part of the evaluation NFL teams conduct before making their selections during the draft.
BOB SMITHE FROM BETHLEHEM, PA
If Le'Veon Bell retires because he is tagged, do the Steelers have rights to him if he decides to come back a year later?
ANSWER: Yes. Under the scenario you outline, Le'Veon Bell would owe the Steelers a year.
ERIC SCHENK FROM LAS VEGAS, NV:
If Le'Veon Bell holds out and doesn't sign the franchise tag until week 10 (the last week he can still accept the tag), does he gets the full $14.5 million or does he just get paid for the weeks he plays?
ANSWER: The Week 10 issue has to do with the deadline for a player to report to his team in order to qualify for a year toward free agency and his pension. A player only is paid for the games he is on the roster, and based on the franchise tender of $14.54 million, Bell would forfeit $855,294.12 for each week of the regular season he skipped.
FRANK CERVANTES FROM MORENO VALLEY CA:
Should the Steelers consider drafting the best running back available in the first round with the possibility of Le'Veon Bell sitting out until Week 10.
ANSWER: Do you really believe that at a salary of $855,294.12 per week based on his franchise tender that Le'Veon Bell is going to skip maybe nine game checks that would cost him $7.698 million? Me neither. I'm not picking a running back on the first round as a hedge against that level of insanity.
DAVID MINICUCCI FROM COPACABANA NSW, AUSTRALIA:
Could you explain how Le'Veon Bell's franchise tag price of $14-plus million was determined? I thought these tags were based on the prior year's salaries of the five highest-paid players at the position. According to NFL.com, the salaries for the top running backs ranged from a high of $8.25 million (Devonta Freemen) to a low of $6.38 million (DeMarco Murray). What am I missing?
ANSWER: Because Le'Veon Bell played under the franchise tag in 2017, the cost for tagging him a second straight season is 120 percent higher than the previous year. Bell played for $12.12 million in 2017, and 120 percent of that works out to $14.54 million. If a team places the franchise tag on a player for three straight years, the third-year salary is 144 percent higher than the second year's salary. In Bell's case, using the franchise tag on him a third straight time would carry a $20.938 million price tag.
JOHN BATES FROM DURHAM, NC:
What teams do the Steelers play in the 2018 season?
ANSWER: At home, the Steelers will play, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Atlanta, Carolina, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, and New England. On the road, it will be Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. Dates and times for the 2018 regular season typically are announced by the NFL in mid-April.
RON HALL FROM ERIE, PA:
Refresh my memory. In the March 6 installment of Asked and Answered, you listed our seven draft picks. What did we acquire in exchange for not having a pick in the fourth round and a pick in the sixth round?
ANSWER: The sixth-round pick was sent to Tampa Bay in the trade that brought J.J. Wilcox to the Steelers. The fourth-round pick was sent to the San Francisco 49ers as part of the deal that brought Vance McDonald and the 49ers' fifth-round pick to the Steelers.
BENJAMIN C. SPIRIDIGLIOZZI FROM ALTOONA, PA:
Can you tell me who the Steelers had official interviews with during the NFL Scouting Combine?
ANSWER: I cannot. Neither the Steelers nor the NFL make that information public, and the only way to find it out would be to ask each individual player if he was interviewed by the Steelers. Teams are able to interview 60 players at the Combine, and each team must submit its list of players it wants to interview around 10 days before the Combine begins.
BRANDON LATTANZI FROM STRATFORD, CT:
I think the Steelers most likely will be adding to their depth chart at safety. Is Sean Davis a candidate to play free safety or is he strictly a strong safety?
ANSWER: The way the Steelers use their safeties, there isn't that big of a difference between strong safety and free safety, so what you describe isn't that significant of a position switch.
DAVID SCOTT FROM ROWLETT, TX:
Can the Steelers get all the help they need out of the draft with only six picks this year? Are there any players signed to futures contracts who can step in and help?
ANSWER: Not to nitpick, but the Steelers have seven picks in the upcoming draft. My experience is that often the primary way teams improve from one season to the next comes from the individual improvement of players already on the roster. But if you're looking for some help from the group of 15 players the team signed to futures contracts this year, there is precedent for that. Mike Hilton was one of those who signed a futures contract last year.
DEAN HAZEL FROM HIRAM, OH:
I seem to remember a period last spring/summer when Asked and Answered took a break. Will that happen again this year?
ANSWER: Let's hope so.
DANTE' CAMERLENGO FROM MARYSVILLE, OH:
I just wanted to thank you for Asked and Answered. It's the first place I go on the entire interweb for Steelers information – highly educational and spit-your-coffee-out hilarious. Keep doing what you do.
ANSWER: Please finish your coffee before you read this next one.
JEFF DILLON FROM HANOVER, PA:
Any chance the Steelers would consider bringing quarterback Mike Glennon in for a look? I know he didn't do much in Chicago. He played decently for Tampa Bay, and he got a good chunk of guaranteed money from the Bears. Even to push Landry Jones.
ANSWER: About as much of a chance as I have to win the Powerball.
JAMES ANTONE, MSGT, USAF(RET) FROM CASTLE ROCK, CO:
I can't stop laughing at your last sentence in the March 1 installment of Asked & Answered, and I type this while sitting in my Denver office where I moved because of said "grand plan."
ANSWER: Apparently, great minds think alike.