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Saturday, February 22, 2014
Free agency a part of Steelers' plans

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers plan to be more active in free agency than in past years, and that was the case even before a report by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the salary cap will rise from $123 million to $130 million.

Steelers president Art Rooney II said the organization hasn’t adjusted its plan based on the extra $4 million that teams are expected to have under this year’s salary cap.

That plan apparently includes the Steelers filling some holes through free agency, something the team should have more flexibility to do once the salary-cap ceiling for 2014 is officially announced.

“We’ll have our eyes open to see if there’s somebody that can come in and help us get better,” Rooney said Saturday morning on 970 ESPN. “There’s always interesting prospects out there in terms of the unrestricted market. There’s certainly some areas we’re going to try to address this offseason.”

Rooney said the Steelers are already well into the process of getting in compliance with the salary cap by March 11. He said the team has talked with agents of Steelers players about restructuring contracts and new deals for priority free agents.

“I would say it’s kind of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together,” Rooney said. “The only difference is the size of the pieces can change on you from one day to the next. It is a little complicated. I think we have enough options that we’ll get done what we need to get done.”

Rooney is in Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine, and he has sat in on the individual player interviews that are a significant component of the combine.

Rooney said he is confident the Steelers will get a good player with their first-round pick, No. 15 overall, given the strength of this year’s draft.

He did not offer any hints as to whom the Steelers will take with their first pick in the draft.

“It’s kind of like going to a great restaurant with a great menu,” Rooney said. “There are a lot of things on the menu, and it’s hard to pick just which one you’re going to take, but that’s what this process is about.”