Daily Archives: February 9, 2012
A clean shaven Brett Keisel and his father Lane.Only in Pittsburgh would fans don their Steelers jerseys, get a “defense” chant going and loudly cheer on players and coaches as they shaved a teamma…
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News
Steelers Insider Ed Bouchette On Roethlisberger’s Thoughts On Haley: “He’s Curious, Eager and Anxious”
93-7 The FAN Steelers Insider Ed Bouchette joined Seibel, Starkey and Miller to give us some insight into the interview he had with Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger earlier today regarding the teams hiring of new Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley.
Bouchette said Ben’s tone when talking about Haley was upbeat and that be came across as eager to see what kind of ideas Haley has for the offense.
Ben did admit to Ed that he heard some bad things from other players about Todd Haley, but said he will wait to form his own opinion of him.
We also got Ed’s thoughts on how often fans ask for the Steelers to use a fullback, and whether or not Haley will employ one here.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
Newly hired offensive coordinator Todd Haley addresses the Pittsburgh media for the first time at the Steelers practice facility on the South Side.
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : Videos
With the Steelers entering the offseason some $ 25 million over the 2012 salary cap, they have a lot of moves to make before the league year begins on March 13. Some of those moves will be releasing players, as they did on Wednesday with Bryant McFadden and Arnaz Battle. And some of those moves will…
Todd Haley has been hired, met with his new colleagues on Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff, with members of the front office and finally with the media at noon today. Another Steelers employee was looking forward this morning to his first meeting with the new offensive coordinator: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Source: post-gazette.com – Steelers/NFL
Moments after finishing his introductory press conference, new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley ran into a familiar face coming down the hall, just outside the room that is home to the tea…
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News
With the releases of CB Bryant McFadden and WR Arnaz Battle, the Steelers are taking their first steps toward getting their top 51 players under the salary cap by the start of the 2012 league season – March 13.
Other moves will certainly be coming, but there are several options the team could pursue by that date.
In part I of this two part series, we’ll dive into the looming cuts expected within the roster, and some projections for restricted free agency.
Aaron Smith’s Decision
There are two choices, both between the team and Smith. After an outstanding career in Pittsburgh, Smith could decide to hang them up. The team would then eat the remaining balance of his contract, but not the whole thing, and save around $ 1 million.
Option 2 is a bit more blunt (but at least as realistic). If Smith doesn’t retire, he won’t play for the Steelers next year. The time and money they’ve sunk into the defensive line came through most of last season, and young players like Cam Heyward and Ziggy Hood have nowhere to go but up. It would, perhaps, be ideal to have a healthy Smith play through a farewell tour in 2012, provide adequate amount of playing time and continue to foster the development of the younger players. The financial reality is his physical condition makes him too much of a liability to risk paying that much, and a reduced salary may not be of any benefit, should he get hurt again.
The Steelers will also ask some guys to take paycuts. WR Hines Ward said he would, and is under contract for one more year. Getting him down to the veteran minimum would save another $ 1 million and change, and regardless of his stats from 2011 (under former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians), he can still contribute as the team’s 4th receiver. WR Jerricho Cotchery is a value guy, not a necessary guy, and likely won’t be back in 2012, judging by the current cap predictions of around $ 120 million.
NT Casey Hampton tore his ACL Jan. 8 at Denver. That means the 35-year-old Hampton began the standard rehabilitation time in 2012, and the likelihood of making a full recovery in the same calendar year at his age (let alone conditioning issues) is very low. He doesn’t have much of a choice but to take a pay reduction and start the year on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list. That would give the Steelers a roster exemption to keep Hampton there until he’s able to play.
Nine months is the typical stated recovery time for a torn ACL. Even if you don’t factor in the time to get back into shape from that many months of relative inactivity, Hampton would have to exceed expectations if he’ll be ready to play by Week 1.
With James Farrior and Larry Foote – the current buck linebackers – it seems at least one of them will have to take a paycut to stay in town. The Steelers could decide to cut one and reduce the contract of the other, but the main concern with this is depth. The buck is the quarterback of the defense – the guy who makes the pre-snap adjustments at the line. The Steelers will not find anyone this year more experienced and ready to play the position in this regard than Farrior or Foote, so the release of either of them will hurt this team on the field in the short run. It’s something that likely has to be done though, so expect the Steelers to find someone in this year’s draft to groom for the spot in 2013.
OLB LaMarr Woodley and ILB Lawrence Timmons have agreed to contract restructures, which will provide some needed relief (exact figures were not released, per the Post-Gazette).
While the Post-Gazette reported they may look into restructuring the contracts of SS Troy Polamalu and QB Ben Roethlisberger, it seems more likely that Roethlisberger’s contributions to the cap issue could come in the form of an extension. If he agrees to tack on another two years to his current deal and spreads the money due to him in that time frame a bit more evenly, he’ll get more in the end and help keep the team financially viable so he can continue winning (he has to be aware that it’ll be hard to compete with the amount of rookie and veteran minimum guys the Steelers will need to sign if money doesn’t get freed up). Now that Patriots QB Tom Brady has been to five Super Bowls and Giants QB Eli Manning has won his second, Roethlisberger knows he’s got some work to do.
March 13 and Restricted Free Agency
Some combination/variation of those moves would probably get them to the point where the top 51 guys are under the cap – required by March 13.
March 13 is also when restricted free agency begins, concerning players whose contracts have expired but who have no more than three years of experience.
Restricted free agents are allowed to pursue offers from other teams, but depending on the level tendered by their current team, the new team must provide a draft pick or picks as compensation. That compensation is based on this scale:
- First Round (highest tender), $ 2.742 million
- Second Round, $ 1.927 million
- Original Round/Right of First Refusal $ 1.26 million
Before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement reached between the league and the NFLPA, the highest level tender was for a first and third round pick. That level no longer exists.
Each of the Steelers’ restricted free agents will receive one of the top three tender offers. Steel City Insider’s Jim Wexell estimates the total amount tendered to those six players will be around $ 7.75 million. To get to that mark, the extra cap space provided by restructuring and releasing will need to be bolstered by a few other cuts. The amount of room those cuts will provide depends on the structure of their contracts (some players are owed a certain amount of money if they are still on the roster on the first day of the new league year, meaning, they would have to be cut before March 13, like Bryant McFadden and Arnaz Battle), but some are owed certain money if they are on the roster a few days after the start of the new league year.
With that, it’s likely Chris Kemoeatu and Will Allen will be released in order to free money up for the restricted free agents.
Part II will deal with some of the specific tactics used in restricted free agency, as well as a potential candidate for a contract extension.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
For many years, the AFC was considered the more elite of the two NFL conferences, and for good reason. From 1997-2008, the Super Bowl champion came out of the AFC nine times, and in most seasons, the AFC Championship game was considered the defacto “Super Bowl,” as the winner of that game was almost always the significant favorite when it met the NFC representative in the Big Game.
The junior conference’s superiority was never more evident than it was in Super Bowl XL, when the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 6th seed in the AFC, were favored by four points against the Seattle Seahawks, the top seed in the NFC.
Maybe the AFC’s position as the more dominant conference started to weaken in Super Bowl XLII, when the undefeated Patriots were installed as 12-point favorites against the Giants, but lost, 17-14.
The following year, in Super Bowl XLIII, the Steelers were 7-point favorites vs. the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals, but had to come from behind to win the game in the final minute.
And just last year, in Super Bowl XLV, things came full circle when the Green Bay Packers, the 6th seed from the NFC, were installed as 4-point favorites against the Steelers, the 2nd seed from the AFC.
And for the Giants/Patriots Super Bowl XLVI re-match, New England was only a 3-point favorite despite the Giants’ 9-7 regular season record. In-fact, many questioned why the G-Men were underdogs at all considering they seemed to have the more talented team. Perhaps, if they had won another game or two, the perception may have been a bit different.
League parity being what it is, I doubt the NFC will reach the level of dominance that it had from 1984-1996 when teams from that conference won 13-straight Super Bowls by an average of just over 17-points a game. But with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady nearing the ends of their careers, and Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning just coming into their prime, the NFC might get to wear the crown of “Superior Conference” for at least a few years to come.
The Philadelphia Eagles are among the favorites to win it all next year. That, more than anything, might tell you all you need to know.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton was hoping to avoid ACL surgery because he knew how hard it would be to recover from at age 34. Unfortunately, Hampton has no choice. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Hampton will indeed after go under the knife Friday for the injury. It was believed Hampton could avoid the…