Daily Archives: February 17, 2012
Northwestern Minnesota’s White Earth Tribe wants to open a Twin Cities-area casino to help raise money for a new stadium.
Source: post-gazette.com – Steelers/NFL
Football Outsiders is out and doing Division by Division looks at the salary cap and how it affects each team around the league.
To see about the entire AFC North – click HERE
Here’s the Steelers breakdown, and some of the background on how they think things will play out for the team.
Estimated Cap Space: Around $ 12 million over
Unrestricted Free Agents (11): Charlie Batch, Jerricho Cotchery, Dennis Dixon, Trai Essex, William Gay, Chris Hoke (retired), Byron Leftwich, Anthony Madison, Mewelde Moore, Daniel Sepulveda, Max Starks
Restricted Free Agents (7): Ramon Foster, David Johnson, Doug Legursky, Keenan Lewis, Jamon Meredith, Ryan Mundy, Mike Wallace
David Johnson, Ryan Mundy, Ramon Foster, Doug Legursky and Keenan Lewis can expect, at minimum, an original round tender worth $ 1.26 million in non-guaranteed base salary.
Franchise Tag Candidate: One season after ranking first in receiving DYAR and DVOA, wide receiver Mike Wallace ranked fifth and eighth in those statistics in 2011. With the elimination of the “first- and third-round” tender in the new collective bargaining agreement, a team in need of a wide receiver could target Wallace if the cost is only a 2012 first round pick. It’s worth noting that two teams in need of a deep threat at wide receiver are the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots, both of whom are armed with cap room and an additional first round pick, so the Steelers may have no choice but to construct a bigger fence around Wallace by placing the projected $ 9.5 million franchise tender on Wallace.
Potential Cap Casualties/Restructures: The Steelers have already cleared around $ 18 million from the cap by restructuring the contracts of Ike Taylor, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons (Following these links to see the details of the Woodley and Timmons restructures). Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison both restructured their contracts to free up cap space last August. Doing so again could potentially free up another $ 8 million of cap space, which helps, but still won’t get the Steelers far enough under the cap to be able to tender offers to their restricted free agents.
Other restructure candidates include Troy Polamalu ($ 9.1375 million cap number), Casey Hampton ($ 8.057 million cap number in final year of his contract), offensive linemen Willie Colon ($ 5.7 million cap number) and Chris Kemoeatu ($ 5.262 million cap number), and Hines Ward. Ward is due $ 4 million in base salary and has a $ 4.61 million cap number in 2012. Outright releasing Ward would free up $ 3.39 million of cap space, but Ward is open to restructuring his contract and lowering his cap number. Pittsburgh would likely seek to reduce their cash commitment to Ward, so a reworked contract would certainly be incentive-laden.
Source: Steelers Gab
Not only did Art Rooney II say he had nothing to do with the hiring of Todd Haley, but the Steelers president also was a bit surprised that coach Mike Tomlin wound up hiring him as his new offensive coordinator.
Source: post-gazette.com – Steelers/NFL
In some ways, being named a top seed in a tournament featuring 31 other Pittsburgh-related sports blogs is an honor.
In other ways, it means nothing.
The sports fan in me thinks Sean’s Ramblings’ yearly tournament to determine the “best” Pittsburgh sports blog is a highly creative and fun feature, and the competitive side of me thinks we have the stack to take the title this year.
Behind The Steel Curtain is the No. 1 seed in the Walter Abercrombie region of the Sean’s Ramblings’ 4th annual tournament, squaring off against Hyzdu’s Headquarters, a statistically thorough and informative Pittsburgh Pirates blog.
We’ve got an interview with Sean, the moderator of the tournament, coming up in the very near future, and he says the idea for the tournament came from Deadspin, a site doing something similar to this on a much grander scale a few years ago.
You can click here to take a look at the other candidates, or give them your thoughts in their comments section. We won’t beg for votes in this space, but I’ll say I’ve already voted, and your support is always appreciated.
See, I didn’t beg.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Kevin Colbert joined Seibel, Starkey and Miller on Sportsradio 93-7 The FAN to talk about the offseason ahead of the Steelers and the challenges they’ll be facing.
Colbert said the team knew going into the offseason that they were going to be over the cap and it was something they’d have to address, and that’s what most of the offseason has been about so far.
This offseason could also bring some of the most turnover on the roster the team has sen in a long time, and Colbert gave us details on what it’s like making those moves, and how many more are still to come.
One offseason issue to the fans has been Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley not yet meeting, but Colbert said that really isn’t a big deal at all to them because they have coaches working around the clock getting ready for the offseason, and they will eventually get together.
We also got Colbert’s thoughts on Hines Ward and his willingness to restructure his contract, but Kevin said at this point they just don’t know what they’re going to do with Hines until they get the definitive salary cap number they’ll be operating under next season.
We wrapped things up with Colbert getting his thoughts on how the offensive line will shake out next year, as well as the running back position with Rashard Mendenhall recovering from an ACL injury.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
In the second part of our Draft Forum series, we dig into the running back position in the draft as well as free agency. The days of the Workhorse Back are behind us, and with guys like Fred Jackson, Matt Forte and DeMarco Murray rushing and catching passes to a high degree of success, value in both player addition markets seems abundant.
The Steelers face an interesting dilemma at that position. In what looked to be a pretty stable group going into 2012 in January turned into perhaps the most anticipated training camp competition when RB Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL in Week 17. His availability for the start of training camp is all but gone, and he could even miss the start of the regular season. Also, veteran RB Mewelde Moore is a free agent, and 2011 7th round pick Baron Batch (a guy our panel loves) is returning from an ACL tear of his own. How will all of these things factor into the running back position this offseason?RB Rashard Mendenhall tore an ACL on the final game of the season. Recently, General Manager Kevin Colbert said he “never feels good” about the health of a player for a year after the injury. While it’s possible Mendenhall plays this season, free agency and the draft will occur well before any definitive word on Mendenhall’s availability will come.
Considering the current depth of running backs (Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay and Baron Batch), do you feel his injury makes that position a priority in the draft and/or free agency? Will any effort be made to re-sign veteran Mewelde Moore?
RB is always a position that front offices around the NFL are looking to fill with cheap talent, and that doesn’t change with us. Although our need isn’t as pertinent as other teams, I believe it would be beneficial to add a faster, change-of-pace RB on day 3 of the draft. IMO unless Batch’s knee can’t hold up and we cut both Clay and Dwyer, Mewelde Moore’s days as a Steeler are numbered. Some prospects I would target are: Cyrus Gray (Texas A&M), Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State), Tauren Poole (Tennessee), and Adonis Thomas (Toledo).
– Parris Brantley
The Steelers have sworn by their ability to find running back talent both inside and outside the draft since Willie Parker, an undrafted back from North Carolina, exploded through the league. While it may not be a need, the amount of talented backs Pittsburgh has produced over the last eight years, and the frequency in which they’ve brought them in, suggests strongly they’ll be looking late in the draft for a diamond in the rough.
Is it really worth it, though?
The Steelers should be OK at the running back position in 2012. They have enough horses in the stable to give the team production in the running game.
While it’s nice to have a back with big play ability, the Steelers offense doesn’t need big plays from their backs to stay on schedule. In the same interview, where Colbert discussed Mendenhall’s prognosis for the 2012 season, he also stated that Redman has “established himself as an NFL running back”. That’s all the endorsement I need, regarding Redman’s ability to top the depth chart at RB.
Although I would of liked to have seen more, I was encouraged by what I saw from Jonathan Dwyer and John Clay, and that was with no work in the off season. That won’t be the case heading into 2012, and I’m sure both will get much more attention during the off season. The real wild card is Baron Batch. Worst case scenario, he can become a solid replacement for Mewelde Moore. Best case scenario, he turns out to be a poor man’s Ray Rice, and becomes the Steelers primary back this season.
– Greig Clawson
Batch was lauded for his willingness to block before tearing his ACL in training camp, and showed a strong ability to step up and stone pass rushers. Pass blocking is a major factor in a young running back’s ability to get on the field. If he can’t do it, opponents will see that and be able to key on the offense’s intention when he’s out there.
Batch is still a wait-and-see prospect, let’s not forget he was a 7th round draft pick. He’ll compete basically as a rookie in this camp against a positional group that all saw carries this season.
And that’s before the draft, which could see the Steelers add a dynamic athlete who may not have first-round size or speed, but an underrated trait; pass catching ability. RB Dexter McCluster had 41 catches in Todd Haley’s offense last year. Jamaal Charles had 45 in 2010.
I really do not feel like running back should be a priority in the draft. Personally, I think Redman can be just as productive as Mendenhall. He does not have burner speed, but I think he fights for extra yards on “tough” carries better than Rashard. He has more of that “fall forward” style that I used to love in Bettis (no he is not “The Next Bettis”).
Additionally, I still have pretty lofty hopes for Batch (see Moore not resigned). The kids was making waves in camp and I hope that carries over to this year. Furthermore, I read somewhere that Haley does a great job with pass catching backs. So, as far as the draft goes, I don’t see them investing a 1-4 round pick on a RB, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they took a late speedster to add another dynamic.
– John Stephens
Because of his presence (and low price tag), the Steelers will give Batch the opportunity to compete for Moore’s spot in training camp. Moore won’t be re-signed immediately, but could return if Batch or anyone else underwhelms.
Speed kills, though. You can never have enough of it. If that kind of running back is available on Day 3, I think they’ll pull the trigger. Considering Redman and Clay both were products of the Steelers’ practice squad, and Dwyer spent his rookie season inactive for nearly every game, bringing in another back through the system seems to work well.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
There’s been a lot of protesting coming out of Pittsburgh lately. Some may wonder whether they’re protesting too much. On Thursday, owner Art Rooney II told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that coach Mike Tomlin made the decision to hire offensive coordinator Todd Haley. “I think the bottom line is, Mike was comfortable that’s…
Owner Art Rooney II reserves the right to continue his family tradition of running the Steelers with a "hands-on" approach.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
As the Steelers deal with the practical consequences of a mismanaged cap situation, two of the team’s key players are next in line to “restructure” their contracts. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and linebacker James Harrison could join cornerback Ike Taylor and linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons in creating cap space…
Bob Labriola, a Pittsburgh native, has been editor of Steelers Digest since its inception in 1988. Do you have a question for Bob? Go to the Steelers Facebook page – facebook.com/steelers – look fo…
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News