What that price entails will be based on what course of action the Steelers organization chooses to take and will make this off-season unlike any other off-season that many, if not most, in Steeler Nation have ever experienced.
To answer the question, we must understand what is being asked.
To "Re-Load" means the Steelers front office believes it has the core players necessary to make a serious run at its seventh Lombardi trophy in 2013.
To "Re-Build" means the Steelers front office believes the core players that have given the Steelers its fifth and sixth Lombardis have passed their prime and no longer can contribute to a Super Bowl run or justify the salaries they are making.
"Afford" has a double meaning: the first is quite obvious in this salary cap intensive age; can the Steelers find the right mix of existing players to produce a Super Bowl contending team given the constraints of the salary cap and existing salaries?
The second meaning of "Afford" itself has two levels of meaning.
1) Can the Steelers "afford" to only re-load in an attempt to wring out of the remaining core players responsible for their recent past successes the last few drops of top level performance they may (or may not) have left in them? Is there enough "juice" left in Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, Brett Keisel, Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark, Willie Colon and Casey Hampton to justify carrying their salaries for another year? For just as sure as a Harbaugh will win the Super Bowl this year, the window on the Steelers' Second Dynasty is closing.
Reload or Rebuild: What can the Steelers afford to do?
Behind The Steel Curtain | Jan 30