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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 14

Let's get to it:

SHAWN BITTNER FROM JACKSONVILLE, NC: With activity in Rookie Minicamp limited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, what do the Steelers try to accomplish during this time?
ANSWER: In simplistic terms, it's a continuation of the getting-to-know-you process, both for the team learning about the players and the players learning about the specifics of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and what will be required of them as professionals. Here are some of the things Coach Mike Tomlin referenced on that subject during his post-practice comments on May 11:

"I'm really excited to start the process with this class of Pittsburgh Steelers. It's a good weekend as far as foundational things given and receiving of information to get to know, to get the familiar component of it, whether it's with each other or how we go about business or the facility itself. And so, just a lot of foundational things going on. Appreciative of the group's attention. (We've) got a lot of work ahead of us. But they appear to have come in relatively good shape as a collective in bringing the proper appropriate attitude to start chewing on some of these things."

Also this: "We're just trying to allow them to get familiar with our facility. We walked-through (at the indoor facility). We worked outside yesterday. We had a dinner over at (Acrisure Stadium). And so it's just more than anything an opportunity not only for us to get some usual work in, but just to show them not only us but our facility and what we're about."

KEVIN DOYLE FROM SALINAS, CA: What is the compensation for unsigned invitees to Rookie Minicamp?
ANSWER: Players participating in Rookie Minicamp on a tryout basis have their travel expenses, room, and board paid for by the team.

BOB PURAT FROM NEWTOWN, PA: Any chance Logan Lee gets moved from defensive end to outside linebacker? He doesn't seem big enough to play defensive end against 300-plus pound offensive linemen in the NFL.
ANSWER: Logan Lee is listed by the Steelers as 6-foot-5, 291 pounds, and he started 40 games as a defensive tackle during his final three seasons at the University of Iowa, during which he recorded 18.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 7 passes broken up, and 2 fumble recoveries. Lee was a defensive end in high school and a defensive tackle in college, and so beyond looking at a single measurable that "you" have decided is insufficient I have no idea why you believe a move to outside linebacker is wise and/or warranted. By the way, Brett Keisel played defensive end in a 3-4 alignment at 6-5, 285, and I remember him doing OK.

TOM McCORMICK FROM FINDLAY, OH: In the May 9 Asked and Answered, you responded to a request for a rundown by position of Steelers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In both your list and in the Hall of Fame's exhibit "A Legacy Forged in Black & Gold," Dick LeBeau was not included. I realize that he was inducted as a player, but if he had not made it into the Hall of Fame as a player, I have to believe he would have made it as a coach. As I assume no one will ever be inducted twice (player and then coach), it feels like a disservice to Steelers Hall of Fame personnel when he is not included. Since you didn't include him, I'm interested in why you did not?
ANSWER: It's simple: Because Dick LeBeau DID NOT play for the Steelers, and if NFL history is any indication, he WOULD NOT have been inducted as a result of his career as a Steelers defensive coordinator. Each one of the 185 games LeBeau played over his 14 NFL seasons were with the Detroit Lions, and no one ever has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a result of his work/success as a coordinator. These are facts. What you included in your submission are suppositions. LeBeau holds a special place in Steelers history, he helped add a couple of Lombardi Trophies to the total, but he is not one of the franchise's Hall of Famers.

RICK BURTON FROM MERIDIAN, MS: You recently listed the Steelers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame by position/categories, which was very interesting and helpful. I notice that Dick LeBeau was not listed with the coaches. Didn't he join the Hall of Fame in 2010?
ANSWER: Dick LeBeau was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2010 as a player, along with guard Russ Grimm, linebacker Rickey Jackson, running back Floyd Little, defensive tackle John Randle, wide receiver Jerry Rice, and running back Emmitt Smith. And as I explained in the previous answer, all of LeBeau's playing career was spent with the Detroit Lions. And remember, Grimm coached the Steelers offensive line for 6 seasons and made important contributions to the winning of Super Bowl XL, but he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player, he played his entire career for the Washington Redskins.

CHRIS WILLIAMS FROM CASPER, WY: I think most would agree that Jaylen Warren performed better than expected. Is he eligible to receive the money the NFL gives to players who outperform expectations?
ANSWER: The NFL's Performance Based Pay program awards money above and beyond a player's contracted salary to individuals based on playing time. As examples, Dan Moore Jr. received $740,319 in performance based pay on top of his contracted salary for the 2023 season, and he played 953 offensive snaps (95 percent). Jaylen Warren played 519 offensive snaps (49 percent) during the 2023 season, which is why he did not qualify for Performance Based Pay. I imagine if Warren had played 95 percent of the offensive snaps in 2023, as Moore had, then he would've been included in the Performance Based Pay program for last season.

DANA FISHER FROM ROCKPORT, ME: I don't really understand why the Steelers didn't pick up the fifth-year option on Najee Harris' rookie contract. It seems like a fairly inexpensive price tag for a running back of his production. Do you believe that he will be extended, or will that decision be based on his performance this season?
ANSWER: Purely from the team's perspective, I believe how any player – in this case you're citing Najee Harris – performs in an upcoming season would be a factor in whether it might be interested in a contract extension. But as I have pointed out many times in many submissions in Asked and Answered, it's the player who is in control once he hits, or even approaches, unrestricted free agency.

MEMET SRATT FROM NEW YORK, NY: It seems that the trade for a top wide receiver is not realistic. Not to mention, how could the Steelers could afford to pay a wide receiver over $30 million per year with all the in-house contracts they will have to negotiate in the next year or two? While the player wouldn't be as talented, would it be more prudent to try to sign a veteran wide receiver who has been cut for salary cap reasons? They could sign the player to a one-year prove-it salary that benefits the Steelers now and then benefit the player in the future who's looking for one more multi-year contract?
ANSWER: The kind of wide receiver who cannot be acquired via trade in your scenario because he will require a contract in the neighborhood of $30 million per year is not going to be the kind of player cut by his original team for salary cap reasons. Teams find ways to hold onto great players.

JAMES SNOWDEN FROM ELYRIA, OH: Why not take a flyer on Martavis Bryant? Low risk/high reward.
ANSWER: I believe you're spending too much time watching old, and I do mean OLD, highlights videos. Martavis Bryant is 32 years old, and he last played in an NFL regular season game on Nov. 11, 2018. That's five seasons ago, and since Bryant only played in the NFL for 4 seasons it means he has been out of football longer than his career lasted.

BRUCE CHYKA FROM STILWELL, OK: With all this consternation over a No. 2 wide receiver, why don't the Steelers look north of the border and work a deal for a top-5 Canadian Football League receiver?
ANSWER: In the NFL, a guy designated as a team's No. 2 receiver is a top-of-the-depth-chart player. You don't find them in the Canadian Football League, because if a guy is good enough to be a top-of-the-depth-chart wide receiver in the NFL, he isn't going to be playing for CFL money "north of the border."

NICHOLAS MOSES FROM SIMI VALLEY, CA: Considering how many needs the Steelers appear to have filled via the draft this year and last, do you think they are now any likelier to part with future high draft picks to secure a top flight wide receiver this offseason?
ANSWER: The Steelers business model since Chuck Noll was hired in 1969 has been to use the draft as the primary method of roster building, and that's not going to change. They went through the era of Buddy Parker trading away "future high draft picks" by the boatload, and they not only won nothing during that stretch but they also paid the price for the strategy for years after Parker was gone. They're not going back to that.