Then again, they too had their problems this season. Mike Wallace had a career-high number of drops in his contract year. Brown suffered from a lack of production compared to his 2011 season.
Sanders saw an increase in production, but only because he saw an increase in playing time.
Miller suffered leg injuries against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16, and underwent knee surgery after an fruitful year.
Wallace will be leaving. Brown will need to fix his struggles in order to become a true No. 1 receiver threat. And Ben will need to decided who to trust the most with a suddenly-depleted group of receivers.
There’s also the issue of Ben’s health. Like it or not, Ben can’t allow himself to take such a pounding as he has done so in his career.
The big quarterback suffered a SC joint sprain, and rib damage against the Kansas City Chiefs midway through the season.
In his absence, the Steelers realized just how much they need Roethlisberger under center for the football team, and may very well take some extra measures in the NFL draft to get him some reliable offensive linemen.
Pittsburgh will lose several other important veterans. In fact, the Steelers are in danger of losing nearly all of their free agents for 2013. As the team is far above their salary cap, they face either salary cuts or player cuts as their only options.
Roethlisberger could see a possible change in his 11.6 million dollar contract, although the likeliness of that isn’t clear.
Troy Polamalu may get a new contract that includes a salary cut. Maybe more.
Linebacker James Harrison could be cut.
The cuts could leave an opening for either the Baltimore Ravens to return as AFC North Champions, or the Cincinnati Bengals to challenge for the crown.
Meanwhile though, the Steelers face a massive rebuilding stage to get even close to Super Bowl contenders in the next few years. And Pittsburgh fans may have to realize that a rebuilding process, when done right, can take time.