Daily Archives: February 21, 2012

Questions About Steelers Salary Cap Situation Need Answers

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Ya ever have that co-worker who comes in with a look that says “I have a gun and a shovel, and I doubt anyone will miss you, so don’t toy with me today”?

A co-worker who, perhaps, is running a fever, and is royally ticked off at his dog’s escape from his collar and subsequent trek through four inches of wet, heavy snow this morning.

It may not be rational. Or logical. It may be pure insanity, but that’s me today. So I’m going to rant a little. The thought and realistic possibility of the Bengals nabbing WR Mike Wallace away from us with a low-end first round pick just does that to me, and I want answers. Sometimes, Twitter just doesn’t give you enough room to ask the questions needing to be asked. Here’s what I want to know.

How did the Steelers get locked into Salary Cap Jail? This is a team renowned for its front office savvy. A dream team of numbers nerds, Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan, never steered this franchise into such perilous waters.

Are we just blindly loyal to this franchise, so much that we aren’t questioning its leadership right now? I get the fact Colbert walks past six trophies on his way into work, but now, he’s staring at a team salary largely increased last season. Were they gambling heavily on a 2012 salary cap that would have been about a 15 percent increase from this season?

Extensions were given to Ike Taylor (a new deal, actually), LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons last season. Taylor, Woodley and Timmons were asked to restructure those deals less than a year after they were signed. That’s not standard business practice on the South Side. Did they not see the problems those decisions may bring this year?

Adding to it is RB Rashard Mendenhall’s base salary increase from 2011 to 2012. His cap number went from around $ 800k to $ 1.2 million, and all that factors into the cap. Were they planning on him rushing for fewer than 900 yards?

Since they were in the giving mood last year, why not talk to QB Ben Roethlisberger then about an extension? Clearly, the team has its quarterback. That quarterback’s legacy is winning. He obviously can win here, but since you know (before training camp 2011) his best friend, Bruce Arians, will be the offensive coordinator that season, why not ask him to take a few bucks less in 2012, and in exchange, you’ll tack on another two years, and spread money out from what’s left on his deal then? New money for him, cap savings for the team, and none of this “burn the midnight oil to free up money to sign WR Mike Wallace to a long-term deal” junk.

The upside to that (in a manner of speaking) is they have the exact same scenario with WR Antonio Brown next year. They’re guaranteeing a lot of money to veterans now, it’s reasonable to think some of that is going to have to hit the books next year.

Granted, they may not have anticipated the highest level RFA tender (a first-and-third round compensation) going away in the new CBA, but they had it in enough time where they could have anticipated the scenario we’re discussing now.

Giving a restricted free agent a franchise tag seems out of the spirit of its purpose, but at the very least they could have seen Wallace having another big season, and really becoming a possible target in the RFA market. Knowing they’d have to franchise him to protect him, why didn’t they talk last year about an extension for Wallace? Maybe they could still have gotten him on the cheap.

The linebacker tag is likely to be $ 1.5 million less in 2012 than the wide receiver tag.

So someone throw a glass of cold water on my face, or toss me a bottle of whiskey a la Delta House’s John “Bluto” Blutarsky, and tell me why we needn’t worry about any of this.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Ed Bouchette’s Instant Steelers Offseason Analysis

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette helps Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan’s Vinnie & Cook spin through all the Steelers’ subplots.

Bouchette goes through the scenarios by which Mike Wallace could leave the Steelers via free agency, looks at the decisions the team will be making on some key veterans and tries to make sense of the growing cold war between Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger.

Listen to the full interview here:

Filed under: Football, Heard on The Fan, Sports, Steelers, Watch + Listen Tagged: Ben Roethlisberger, Ed Bouchette, Mike Wallace, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Todd Haley, Vinnie & Cook

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Gilbert Going From Right to Left Tackle in 2012 Says Colbert

The Steelers offensive line is going to be very different in 2012, as today GM Kevin Gilbert told 93.7 The FAN that the team will be shifting right tackle Marcus Gilbert to left tackle.

“I think going into right now knowing that Max Starks is an unrestricted free agent — and Max did a great job for us coming back last year — but Max is also rehabbing an ACL and only time will tell how quickly he heals and whether we’re able to re-sign him and add him back in the mix. But having done it (injuring his knee) in the playoff game, it won’t be early in the process.

“So I think if we were to line up today, I would imagine that, and ultimately it’s the coach’s decision, but my guess is Marcus Gilbert would kick over to the left and Willie Colon, who we’re fortunate to get back next year, would move up to the right.”

Gilbert had some good, and some not so good moments in 2011. He was a second-round pick (63rd overall) out of Florida last season, and while he started 13 games, late in the year he was sat by Mike Tomlin for the start of the Rams game for not having a good week in practice. He did end up starting 13 of 14 games as a rookie in place of Colon, who was placed on injured reserve with a torn triceps.

Source: Steelers Gab

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Restructuring of OT Willie Colon’s Contract Saves $2.85 Million


News broke out Tuesday morning of OT Willie Colon’s willingness to prorate $ 3.8 million of the $ 4.5 million he’s owed in 2012 over the remaining four years of his deal. Saving the team another $ 2.85 million against its 2012 salary cap is good progress, but there’s still $ 5-6 million to go, according to Football Outsider writer Brian McIntyre.

The total savings created so far this off-season through player releases and contract restructures is around $ 18 million – but freeing up $ 5-6 million more would only reach the estimated 2012 salary cap. The total savings figure the Steelers are aiming for will include all restricted free agent tenders, rookie contracts and a cash fund for in-season transactions.

And all of that is before a possible franchise tag for WR Mike Wallace. With that looming as a possibility, the Steelers still have a lot of work to do to get to the cap point they’ll need to field the strongest team they can.

Reports have circulated that QB Ben Roethlisberger and OLB James Harrison are in discussions for contract restructures as well. Roethlisberger seems the most likely, considering how often he’s stated his desire to win ahead of individual accolades. If that’s the case, he’d help his team’s cause by having the Steelers tack on another year or two to his current deal, and then spreading money from this season across the full duration just like the other restructures.

Harrison may be a tougher bet, considering he restructured last season. But incidentally, restructuring did make his one-game suspension cost far less than it would have been otherwise.

The top 51 contracts on each team must be below the salary cap by 4 p.m. ET March 13. This may go down to the wire, but it seems like the Steelers have a plan in place and are sticking to it.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Steelers restructure Colon’s contract

If there was any doubt that the Steelers intended Willie Colon to rejoin them as their starting right tackle, the Steelers made their intentions clear today when they restructured his contract.

Source: post-gazette.com – Steelers/NFL

Talk heats up in Pittsburgh that Mike Wallace could leave

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Ordinarily, when a team has a good young player who becomes a restricted free agent, that team does what it needs to do and keeps that good young player in the fold. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that Steelers receiver Mike Wallace is not in an ordinary situation. Wallace becomes a restricted free agent in…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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Steelers new offensive coordinator Haley, QB Roethlisberger yet to talk

General manager Kevin Colbert said that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley has been busy in meetings and with the transition to a new city over the past two weeks.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Video – ESPN: Steelers Could Have Major Issues with Hanging Onto Wallace

The Steelers need to be careful with Mike Wallace’s contract situation, lest he land with a division rival.

Source: Steelers Gab

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Roethlisberger Says He and Haley Have Yet to Talk

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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says he still has yet to chat with his new offensive coordinator.

“I’ve gotten a lot of calls and texts and emails from people around the league, both good and bad about him,” Roethlisberger said according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Everybody has an opinion, as we all know, and they’re letting me know what their interaction with him was — good, bad and indifferent. I’ve heard a lot of things and I’m looking forward to meeting him and forming my own opinion.”

Before new OC Todd Haley was introduced last week, Roethlisberger, said he never spoke with Haley before Haley was introduced by the Steelers last week.

On Monday, Roethlisberger told Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review nothing has changed on that front. “He still hasn’t called yet,” Roethlisberger said.

Source: Steelers Gab

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Linemen respect and admire Dawson

It’s not just those that played with or against former Steelers center Dermontti Dawson that admired the way he played the game, but also those that came after him. Today’s Steelers’ offensive line…

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News

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