Daily Archives: April 22, 2012
With the period for restricted free agency movement concluded, and with no restricted free agents signing offer sheets with new teams, those who have yet to sign tender offers from their current teams must decide when and if to do so. Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, the highest-profile restricted free agent without a contract, reportedly doesn’t…
Check out my reasoning – as well as the rest of my mock draft – over at NFL Gridiron Gab.
Follow me at: http://twitter.com/Chris_M_Bach
Source: Steelers Gab
Leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft current and former Steelers players and coaches will share their draft day memories. Featured in this segment is secondary coach Carnell Lake.
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : Videos
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Days before he is expected to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, former Alabama LB Dont’a Hightower checks in with Troy Clardy on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.
Many draft experts think Hightower will be the Steelers’ first-round pick. Dont’a discusses that scenario, goes inside his visit to the Steelers facility, and tells what impressions he has of Pittsburgh.
He also explains how Alabama prepared him for the NFL, gives a peek at his weekly preparation, and reveals what drives him to succeed.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 27 — New England Patriots Select Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
We get to hear from someone that's not me! Thanks go to VinnySteel for fulfilling the first appearance that our friends from Foxborough will make in the 1st round this year. Next up: Green Bay Packers and they'll be represented by barnerburner (jeez... not him again).
By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-
So, as a Steelers fan representing what is likely our collective 2nd most hated franchise, I was tempted to want to spend their first round draft choice on a kicker. Any kicker. No, scratch that. I'd like them to be a really bad kicker with off-the-field substance abuse issue and suspected ties to a terrorist cell or two.
The problem is, it wouldn't matter. Somehow, some way, Belichick would figure out some strange unknown skill set for the guy and use him successfully in "the system." And even if he were a bust - do you really think the New England Patriots will not figure out some way to have two first round picks next year? Since 1990, they've managed to head into the draft with two first rounders seven times.They've only used both of these picks four times, most recently in 2004 where they selected Vince Wilfork and Ben Watson. Of course, when you're New England, you have to be doubly prepared. You could miss on the pick... or you could get caught and have one (only one) taken away by the league... but I digress.
The point is if they mess up with their pick, they'll still have more opportunities than anyone to make up for it. Of course, if they keep him, he'll marry a supermodel.
Before I get to the pick - one more piece of extraneous fluff: I live in Pittsburgh. Ironically, I am on my family vacation starting today and I'm writing this from none other than Boston, Massachusetts. When I signed up, I had no idea it would work out that I would be physically present in the city the team represents at the precise moment I "drafted". The planets are truly aligning for this pick...
With the 27th pick in the 2012 draft, the New England Patriots select... Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, University of Alabama.
There probably is no better proof that the Patriots are a system-oriented team than the fact that it would probably be a great challenge to find a team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl, played competitively, and yet could probably draft any defensive position and it would be in some way a position of need. Truly remarkable that they accomplished all they did last year with their defensive roster.
Most pundits say New England came within a "dropped Wes Welker pass" of winning the Super Bowl. However, I think it's more accurate to say they were a Rob Gronkowski injury away from doing so. Either way, the point is that the Patriots nearly won the Super Bowl even with mistakes and significant injuries on offense. The offense doesn't need any help, not in the first round anyway. They've prepared well for Matt Light's retirement. So, an offensive line pick is unlikely.
However, the greatest of the defensive needs would be the lack of consistent pass rush.
It's interesting to note, however, that the Patriots actually had more sacks last season (40) than the Steelers (35). Our dramatic fall was due to injuries, but not so for New England. They just did not have the personnel to do it. This was really evident in the playoffs and Super Bowl.
At 6'2" and 265 pounds, Upshaw is a lot of man. While not the laterally quickest player, he is a ferocious in-line bull rusher with great flexibility and instinct. In 13 games last season, he registered 8.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, 17 tackles for loss - but he only had 56 tackles total! And he did this against college football's toughest competition. He simply has a great nose for the ball and the strength and agility to break through any wall to get there.
One other perk is that he played a hybrid end-backer at Alabama and will adjust readily to a similar system in New England.
In most mocks I've read, Upshaw is going around 16th or 17th overall. Many others have him going right here where I've picked him. Those that have him going later have New England picking a defensive player that is already off the board in our mock. That's the problem with doing a mock with Steelers fans: "Offense? Who needs offense? ... Isn't that what rounds 4-6 are for?" In all likelihood, New England will have a few more defensive options on the table than our mock has given them. However, New England might just take the dynamic Upshaw (if he's still available) regardless. He's that good and that much of a fit for what they do.
Well, it's been interesting to look at football from the perspective of Bill Belichick. And now, please excuse me while I shower and wash the stink of this dirty deed from my soul...
BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:
- Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
- Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
- Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
- Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
- St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
- Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
- Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
- Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
- Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
- Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
- Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
- New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
- San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
- Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
- Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
- Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
- Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
- Denver Broncos -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
- Houston Texans -- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace's goal of being one of the highest paid at his position took a hit when he did not receive an offer sheet from any team by Friday's deadline.
Wallace, a restricted free agent, has lobbied for a contract in the neighborhood of the eight-year, $ 120 million pact signed by Arizona Cardinals stud Larry Fitzgerald.
The Steelers opted not to place the franchise tag on Wallace and put a first-round tender on him worth $ 2.7 million.
Wallace, who has yet to sign the tender and did not report for the team's offseason workouts, had 72 catches for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
The Pro Bowler has established himself as one of the NFL's premier deep threats, averaging 18.7 yards per reception in his first three seasons.
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
Leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft current and former Steelers players and coaches will share their draft day memories. Featured in this segment is running back Baron Batch.
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : Videos
The staggering amount of resources NFL teams devote to evaluating college players, from dissecting game tapes to dispatching coaches and scouts to Pro Day workouts across the country, guarantees nothing when it comes to the draft.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Last week, it was reported that Mike Wallace, a restricted free agent, had decided that he wasn't going to sign the Steelers $ 2.7 million one year tender. This indicated that Wallace's intention was to draw a line in the sand and enter into a battle of wills with the Pittsburgh Steelers. You knew that already, of course. Neal Coolong summarized that quite succinctly last week when the news first broke.
That's old news.
What's even older news is that it's almost impossible to win a staring contest with the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Wallace doesn't know this, his agent should, and they should probably try to come up with a better plan if they're going to get what they want.
More highly decorated Steelers than Mike Wallace have tried this tactic in the past, and they have failed.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the most disciplined approaches to running a business in all of professional sports. If they establish a way of doing things, a policy, they very rarely go off course.
For example, the Steeler hardly ever make big splashes in free agency. This often frustrates fans who want them to go hard after the top names each and every offseason. But the Steelers would rather build through the draft, develop their own stars, and sign them to huge deals when the time is right. The team just ignores the protests from the outside, continues to do their thing every year, and it has worked to the tune of being the most successful franchise in the NFL over the past 40 seasons.
The Steelers have also set a precedent of not re-negotiating contracts during the regular season.
In 1988, Pro Bowl linebacker Mike Merriweather held out the entire season despite still being under contract. The Steelers never gave in to this negotiation tactic, and they simply traded him away for a first round pick in 1989.
Want a more recent example? In 2005, Hines Ward, one of the greatest Steelers of all-time, held out the first couple of weeks of training camp because he wanted a new deal even though he still had another year remaining on his then current contract.
Did Hines think it was going to work? I don't know. But it wasn't long before then coach Bill Cowher persuaded Ward to come to camp, and it wasn't long before the team took care of him with a new contract. Yes, Ward eventually got his deal, but that's because he came to his senses and, unlike Merriweather, decided to negotiate in good faith. Had Ward continued to hold out, he probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere.
That's two examples nearly two-decades apart of how the Steelers handle strong-arm negotiation tactics. They simply don't back down.
Wallace should take notes.
There has been speculation floating around over the past few weeks that Wallace wants Larry Fitzgerald money. I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that he's not going to get that kind of money from the Steelers, not with their salary cap situation being what it is. The team had to cut ties with a few veterans and ask a few others to re-structure their contracts just so they could barely get under the cap.
Very few restricted free agents sign offer sheets, but Wallace is an attractive enough receiver--the best deep threat in the game-- that you would think someone would have taken at least a slight interest in him and tried to sign him to an offer sheet. The fact that Wallace has had very little interest from other teams at this late point is a pretty fair indication that maybe he is over-valuing his worth just a little bit.
I don't think Wallace has much leverage at this point. His only real recourse is to sign the tender sheet and play out his last year with the Steelers and see what happens.
Do I think Wallace is worth Fitzgerald money? Personally, no, not yet. But that's just my opinion, and things would change pretty fast if Wallace goes out and sets the league on fire this season.
If he establishes himself to be the equal to Fitzgerald and receivers like him, Wallace will have the leverage as he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2013..
And, who knows? The Steelers might actually be willing to find a way to give him a fair market deal.
As I said, the Steelers may hold their ground when re-negotiating, but they do want to keep their own stars whenever they can.
As a restricted free agent, Mike Wallace is under no obligation to sign anything or do anything. But he owes it to himself to at least sign the tender sheet if he and the Steelers can't come to an agreement before training camp.
If he wants his big contract, he has a 16-week job interview coming up to show the Steelers and the rest of the NFL what he's truly worth.
That's his best option. Hopefully, he'll come around, because the Steelers aren't going to change their approach to business.
They always win their staring contests.
My guess is that Mike Wallace will be the one who blinks first.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain