Daily Archives: February 13, 2012
Now that the 2011 season is officially over following last night’s Super Bowl, now we can all look ahead to free agency.
The Steelers have a number of players that will be unrestricted come March 13th when they can sign with other teams. You can see the complete list below, and give your thoughts about what players the team should keep, and what ones they could let go.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents (3)
RB Isaac Redman
DT Steve McLendon
P Jeremy Kapinos
Restricted Free Agents (7)
WR Mike Wallace
TE David Johnson
OT Jamon Meredith
OL Ramon Foster
OL Doug Legursky
CB Keenan Lewis
S Ryan Mundy
Unrestricted Free Agents (11)
QB Charlie Batch
QB Dennis Dixon
QB Byron Leftwich
RB Mewelde Moore
WR Jerricho Cotchery
OT Max Starks
OL Trai Essex
NT Chris Hoke
CB William Gay
CB Anthony Madison
P Daniel Sepulveda
Source: Steelers Gab
The Steelers are still mulling wide receiver Hines Wards future in Pittsburgh as they work to get under the salary cap and make personnel decisions that will shape the 2012 roster.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The Steelers made some roster moves today, releasing cornerback Bryant McFadden and wide receiver Arnaz Battle.
A second-round pick out of Florida State by the Steelers in 2005, McFadden spent four seasons in Pittsburgh before signing with the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. Traded back to Pittsburgh in 2010, McFadden had 74 tackles and two interceptions as a 16-game starter that season before playing in a reserve role in 2011.
McFadden was set to earn $ 2.5 million in base salary in 2012, which will come off the team’s salary cap.
Battle joined the Steelers as a free agent in 2010. In 25 games over the last two seasons, Battle has 13 special teams tackles and zero receptions. Battle was due to earn $ 1.0375 million in base salary next season.
In addition to releasing McFadden and Battle, the Steelers have signed cornerback Myron Rolle, wide receiver Juamorris Stewart and linebacker Brandon Hicks to “Reserve/Futures” contracts.
Source: Steelers Gab
While it still remains to be seen whether Hines Ward ever suits up for the Pittsburgh Steelers again, there can be no disputing the fact that Ward is the most productive wide receiver in franchise history. And it’s not even close.
The Steelers have had some magnificent receivers, including a pair from the 1970s – Lynn Swann and John Stallworth – who are in the Hall of Fame. But the statistics of those two Hall of Famers could be added together and still come up short to the numbers that Ward has accumulated.
The fact that the league has turned into a passing (and receiving) league cannot be argued. The numbers of many Hall of Fame QBs and WRs from the 1970s pale in comparison to what today’s players are putting up. But the records are there for fans to look at, and right there in black and white, the numbers say Ward is easily the best WR to ever suit up for the Steelers.
But if that’s the case, why is he not considered a lock for Canton? ...
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has been giving interviews over the last few days and Scott Brown from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Ed Bouchette from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette are reporting some of the things that Colbert said to them today. First off in regards to running back Rashard Mendenhall, who suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns, Colbert told reporters that there is a good chance Mendenhall won't be ready for start of 2012 season and will open season on PUP list. Bouchette passed along a quote where Colbert said, "I never feel Read more [...]
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
This is the first in a collaborative effort from the editorial staff at BTSC, providing some arguments behind possible positional directions the Steelers may go with their first round pick - currently scheduled for the 24th overall. These will be posted each day this week, and will not be distributed based on order of preference.
Wouldn't it be strange of Chipotle started heavily marketing and selling hamburgers?
Their famous burritos have people standing in lines of 20 deep, sometimes out the door, to get one around lunch time. Granted, their fajita bowls may bring in a person or two as well, but their customer base is because of the burritos.
Will there be more people lining up because Chipotle theoretically serves hamburgers? It would seem strange, but perhaps one or two more may join the throngs waiting for that carnitas and pinto bean sensation. If they have the marketing dollars available and wish to move in a direction to increase their customer base, it would make more sense to simply market their money maker, the burrito.
Regardless of what else is being sold, the burrito is the best food item available.
A wide receiver is likely to be the best player available (BPA) when the Steelers go on the clock with the 24th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Should it matter they already have talented players at the position? Football is all about match-ups, and one significant positional match-up game-in and game-out can be the difference between 12-4 and 8-8.
It used to be a game in which a team was only as good as its weakest link. The New England Patriots came one bad ankle (TE Rob Gronkowski) from winning a Super Bowl with an average offensive line, a below average defense (in terms of tackling) and castoffs at running back. They were able to have that level of success because they have elite players at other positions; QB Tom Brady couldn't throw to Gronkowski, so he threw to TE Aaron Hernandez.
The Patriots took two tight ends in 2010 (Gronkowsi in the second round, Hernandez in the fourth). If the Patriots didn't enact a BPA strategy, it could be argued that team doesn't have as much success in 2011.
The Steelers have three talented receivers, but that's the thing. They only have three receivers who can definitively say they'll be on the roster after March 13. Tea leaves don't strongly indicate Hines Ward will be back, and while his departure suggests an extension for Jerricho Cotchery, he could leave in free agency.
Those issues will be cleared up before the draft, but not before the Scouting Combine, which begins Feb. 22 in Indianapolis. Being in such a tenuous situation at such a valuable position isn't something that will escape the Steelers' attention.
Early projections show the wide receiver position is deep, but without multiple top 10 prospects. Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon is a lock for the top five. After him, there is talent (Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery and Baylor's Kendall Wright), and Floyd and Jeffery both possess something the Steelers receivers simply don't have.
And all three of them could be on the board when the Steelers pick at 24. All three (repeat, three) of the Steelers who are currently under contract, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, are 6-foot-1 and shorter. None of them weigh more than 200 pounds.
What's easier, finding five All Pro linemen, or adjusting your passing strategy to include more short releases?
No one was talking about the level of play Giants LT David Diehl was at the day after the Super Bowl. They were talking about the catch made by WR Mario Manningham - the team's distant third receiving option - and the drop by WR Wes Welker.
New offensive coordinator Todd Haley had big, strong receivers in both Arizona (Larry Fitzgerald) and Kansas City (Dwayne Bowe), and while the success of those two varies a bit due to their individual talent and their particular quarterback situations, it's tough to argue physical receivers don't have a place in Haley's offense.
It's also important to acknowledge the fact the rest of the league isn't blind. They can see the level of talent Brown has. They noticed defenses playing against Pittsburgh struggle to keep Wallace in front of them. Wallace is a restricted free agent this year, and barring an extension, will be on the open market in 2013, unless the Steelers slap the franchise tag on him. That'll likely be about $ 10 million, maybe more, against the cap. Both Brown and Sanders are RFAs in 2013, and eligible for free agency in 2014.
They can use the tag on Wallace next year and probably Brown in 2014, but the salary cap jail the Steelers would find themselves in would be more despondent than being imprisoned at Guantanemo Bay.
It comes back to value, though. The second and third best receivers in this draft are talented players, but they aren't going to be guys likely to go higher than around 19-25. It could be later. It's awfully tempting to grab a 6-foot-4 receiver with 4.5 speed and good hands, if for no other reason than provide a reliable shorter target. We don't know how much longer the young receivers will be around, but we know they need a big target now.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
The Steelers official site has put out the following about Todd Haley, who was named the black and golds offensive coordinator on Wednesday:
The Pittsburgh Steelers have named Todd Haley as their new offensive coordinator, it was announced today.
“I am excited about the opportunity to come back home and work for a tremendous organization,” Haley said. “It is an honor to work with the Rooney family and Coach Tomlin and continue the success that has become synonymous with the Steelers. My father has so many fond memories both from his playing days and his time in the personnel department with the team, and I look forward to helping bring more championships to Pittsburgh and to being a part of one of the storied franchises in the NFL.”
Haley has spent 17 years in the NFL, including the last 15 as a coach after his career began as a scouting assistant. He joins the Steelers after spending the majority of the last three seasons as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Haley led the Chiefs to the greatest single-season turnaround in franchise history, winning the AFC West in 2010 by recording six more victories than in 2009. For leading Kansas City to its first division title since 2003, Haley was voted by former players and coaches as the NFL Alumni Coach of the Year.
Prior to joining the Chiefs, Haley was the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-08. In his second season Haley helped the Cardinals win their first division title since 1975 and earn a spot in the franchise’s first Super Bowl (XLIII). Haley’s offense recorded a franchise record 427 points and became the fifth team in NFL history to have three receivers eclipse 1,000 yards in the same season. Haley has also served as an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys (2004-06), Chicago Bears (2001-03) and the New York Jets (1997-2000), helping each team earn a playoff berth.
He is the son of Dick Haley, who spent 44 seasons in the NFL including serving as the Steelers’ director of player personnel from 1971-91.
Source: Steelers Gab
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Steelers have cut two veterans from the team.
They ended their contracts with CB Bryant McFadden and WR Arnez Battle. TE Miguel Chavis and LB Erik Clanton were waived.
The team added CB Myron Rolle who was released from the Tennessee Titans’ squad at the end of training camp in 2011.
They also signed WR Juamorris Stewart and LB Brandon Hicks.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
NFL Network reporter Jason La Canfora recently told the network's "NFL Total Access" show that Ward will not be back in Pittsburgh next season, according to his sources.
Ward won't be back for the $ 4 million he's currently owed for 2012, that much is true. However, Ward has said that he'd be amenable to a pay cut, and while he'd be "devastated" if he didn't play in Pittsburgh, he still wants to play football.
Amid several Steelers restructuring their contracts to alleviate certain salary cap doom this season, it makes sense to think the Steelers simply haven't gotten to Ward yet. His $ 4 million salary is certainly out of the team's range, but it would make sense if he were to take a reduction to stay as - at worst - the team's fourth receiver going into mini-camp (based on who else is currently under contract).
Rumors that Ward won't be back at all paints a different picture than just salary, though. A team that currently has four receivers under contract - Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Ward - would seem to want to bring more guys in, not get rid of any. If Ward is willing to drop his price (he isn't likely to get much more than the veteran minimum with a new contract anywhere else), then it seems both sides would be getting what they need.
If the Steelers simply don't want Ward back in 2012, then some of the cap room they're trying to create could presumably be used on Jerricho Cotchery - who was scooped up during training camp right before the season and taking Ward's minutes as a flanker on passing downs by the end of the year.
But Cotchery is not the same asset in the running game that Ward is: Ward has been utilized in motion, oftentimes as a lead-blocker on designed running plays. It's possible that new Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley and Head Coach Mike Tomlin no longer wish to use a receiver in this relatively unusual capacity - even though Ward is arguably one of the best blocking receivers in the history of the game - and as such, it would make the rarer assets of Ward's skill-set more expendable.
The team does not exactly have the luxury of time before having to make their decision: there is reportedly a clause in Ward's contract that says the team must guarantee him his job by March 1 (not March 13, the actual start of the league's 2012 year), or release him.
Regardless of what Ward's situation is with fitting/not fitting into our offensive plans, the likely reality is that there is still work out there for a two-time Super Bowl champion and a former Super Bowl MVP. Ward could almost certainly find himself a new jersey if he was determined to keep playing. Whether or not he could realize a level of success and satisfaction is still difficult to project though.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
For Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff, the support of his teammates and the lessons learned from his Midwestern upbringing have helped keep the biggest miss of his career in perspective.
Source: post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL