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Steelers mailbag II: Is Will Allen in team's 2015 plans?

4/4/2015

Here is the second half of this week's mailbag. If you have a question please send to @ScottBrown_ESPN.

@ScottBrown_ESPN:: I think he is the one remaining free agent who played for the team last season and has a chance of returning to the Steelers. Allen will be going into his 12th NFL season if the Steelers do bring him back. But he wouldn't cost much -- I can't imagine the team offering more than a veteran minimum contract -- and they could use some insurance at safety with Troy Polamalu not expected to return in 2015. Allen rejuvenated his career after re-signing with the Steelers during the 2013 season and the coaches obviously has a level of comfort with him. Unless they feel like there will be a significant drop-off in Allen's play this season I don't see why they would not bring him back for one more season.

@ScottBrown_ESPN:: Dang, you certainly thought this one out. I like your plan but not sure how realistic it is. The Steelers would have to first and foremost find a trade partner to move down in the first round, and that is easier said than done. Not saying it won't happen but history suggests that the Steelers are most likely to stay put at No. 22 overall. They have traded back once and traded up twice in the first round since Kevin Colbert joined the organization in 2000. Maybe they like Byron Jones enough to take at No. 22. He has incredible measurables, is a high-character kid and played both safety and cornerback at UConn. That combination has to intrigue the Steelers, and they could have a shot at the players you mentioned in the second and third rounds. I think most Steelers fans would be elated if Pittsburgh took two cornerbacks and an edge pass-rusher with its first three picks in the draft.

@ScottBrown_ESPN:: I do and I go back to what general manager Kevin Colbert said in early February. Colbert did not hold back in praising Ben Roethlisberger even though the two sides were negotiating a new contact and said he believes the veteran is still improving and can play at a high level well into his 30s. Roethlisberger has the supporting cast to continue excelling after throwing for 4,952 yards last season and becoming the first player in franchise history to win a passing title. Remember all of the talk about how he and offensive coordinator Todd Haley did not get along and weren't compatible? That was so 2013, at least the first part of it. Roethlisberger has started every game and almost every snap the past two seasons and averaged 288 passing yards per game and completed 65.7 percent of his throws. There is no reason why he can't continue to put up similar numbers, and Roethlisberger had better continue to play at a high level. The defense is going to need some time -- and more talent at key positions -- before it is ready to return to its accustomed place among the top units in the NFL. Roethlisberger and the offense are going to have to do the heavy lifting for the foreseeable future if the Steelers are going to seriously challenge for a seventh Super Bowl title.

@ScottBrown_ESPN:: I asked Steelers president Art Rooney II at the NFL owners meetings if there is any indication as to when the team will hear about Bell's punishment and he said he had not heard anything from the league. The expectation is that Bell will miss the first two regular-season games of the 2015 season for violating the personal conduct policy. Fortunately for the Steelers they already took care of Plan B at running back while Bell is out by signing a proven veteran in DeAngelo Williams.

@ScottBrown_ESPN:: Each will be given a chance to make the 53-man roster and certainly there is an opportunity for both players given what the Steelers have at outside linebacker. I don't think the Steelers are going into offseason practices -- and eventually training camp -- with concrete expectations for either player and for good reason. Jones was incredibly raw last season and there is no guarantee the former undrafted free agent will make a big jump after spending all of last season on the practice squad. Lemon put up big numbers in the Canadian Football League, but that was the Canadian Football League. He has to prove he can handle the significant jump it will be from CFL competition to the NFL. The Steelers did give Lemon a small signing bonus and they rarely do that with players they sign to a reserve/futures contract. That at least is an indication that other teams were interested in signing him.