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fordfixer
08-06-2008, 09:23 PM
Steelers not negotiating on contract extensions
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08219/902106-66.stm
Linebacker James Farrior looks for a running back during evening workouts at St Vincent College yesterday.Linebacker James Farrior landed with the Steelers six seasons ago, perhaps their best veteran free-agent signing in the 15 years under the current system.

In seven months, he can become a free agent again, and he has no idea if they want to keep him.

"I love this team, I want to be here," said Farrior, their defensive captain who has been team MVP and an All-Pro since he came over from the New York Jets. "I want to finish my career here, and I'm going to do everything possible to make that happen."

It takes two sides for that to occur, however, and with one month left before the Steelers' self-imposed deadline on contract extension talks, no talks are taking place.

Not with Farrior, not with tackle Marvel Smith, not with anyone.

If the team has issues with its offensive line now, next season could be disastrous because Smith and new left guard Chris Kemoeatu will become unrestricted free agents if they remain unsigned. So, too, will Max Starks and Trai Essex, their top two backup tackles. Starting right tackle Willie Colon will become a restricted free agent.

It's likely that Smith won't return if he's not signed to an extension over the next month.

"I guess we have four weeks to see if Marvel remains a Steeler after this year," said Ken Zuckerman, his agent.

The same could hold true for Kemoeatu, Starks and Essex, which would blow a hole through their line and its depth.

That's not all. Others who would become unrestricted are cornerback Bryant McFadden, wide receiver Nate Washington and quarterback Charlie Batch.

Perhaps the Steelers have a plan to accomplish something with these players over the next month, but no negotiations are taking place, according to sources. The same held true last season when, in the 11th hour, they signed starting right guard Kendall Simmons to a contract extension after it became apparent that veteran guard Alan Faneca wanted nothing to do with their last, best offer.

Simmons, though, was an exception and in the right place at the right time. First, the Faneca deal had to fall through and then Starks, targeted for a possible extension, lost his starting job to Colon. That prompted them to go after Simmons. Usually, if the Steelers want to extend the contract of a player entering his final season, talks to do so would have been ongoing.

"We're going to try to get something done," Farrior said, speaking for his agent, Ralph Cindrich. "They're in a tough situation right now with the team stuff, so we don't want to push anything."

He referred to the process by which the five Rooney brothers who own 80 percent of the team are negotiating contracts of far more importance to them. They are trying to determine ownership of the team either through the sale to an outside buyer or to keep it in the Rooney family, selling to brother Dan Rooney, the team's chairman, and his son Art II, the team's president.

Management might want to wait to see how the ownership unfolds before it commits to new contracts for players who still have a year left.

"I know they have a lot of stuff they have to consider with the team," Farrior said. "Mr. Rooney -- hopefully, he can work something out before the season starts. We'll see."

Their deadline to work something out with their players is when the regular season starts, a month from tomorrow. Sources say, however, that any ownership issues have no impact on negotiations with those players or, in this case, non-negotiations.

It appears unlikely that they would be able to sign either Smith or Kemoeatu before the start of the season. Smith is represented by Zuckerman and Priority Sports & Entertainment, which negotiated a lucrative deal for Faneca with the Jets. The problem with signing Kemoeatu is determining his value because he has started only two games in three years, but is Faneca's heir at left guard.

Smith, like Faneca, likely won't consider a contract after the season and would go elsewhere.

Farrior, though, said he would consider re-signing after the season.

"Yeah, I will consider that," he said. "I've had a great career here. I think it resurrected my career. I had a couple good years with the Jets, but never anything like this. I just feel like I'm at home here."

NKySteeler
08-06-2008, 09:46 PM
With the exception of Hines, I don't think this is a suprise... They don't negotiate once camp starts.

papillon
08-06-2008, 10:15 PM
They have a lot of contracts expiring, it might in their best interest to try and get a few of them extended. If they wait until after February and during FA then the price goes up or their draft will become predictable and other teams will feast on that.

Pappy

Chadman
08-07-2008, 12:31 AM
When you look at it on face value- it looks bad that the Steelers haven't tried re-negotiating with all these guys.....BUT...

Marvel is coming back from back surgery. Do you want to risk investing in him without having seen him play with it yet?

Kemo is untested & might stink as a starter- do you want to invest there?

Starks is the back-up OT and his contract extension could depend largely on what happens with Marvel.

Batch is 33 going on 34...is he really a danger of moving on?

Farrior is 33 too- will he decrease in his abilities?

McFadden hasn't been able to beat out Deshea for a starting spot yet...

And the big one- if the Rooney's sell, the new owner might look at his ownership style much differently to the Rooney's. It could turn out that the Steelers invest in FA much more than ever before.

frankthetank1
08-07-2008, 07:25 AM
When you look at it on face value- it looks bad that the Steelers haven't tried re-negotiating with all these guys.....BUT...

Marvel is coming back from back surgery. Do you want to risk investing in him without having seen him play with it yet?

Kemo is untested & might stink as a starter- do you want to invest there?

Starks is the back-up OT and his contract extension could depend largely on what happens with Marvel.

Batch is 33 going on 34...is he really a danger of moving on?

Farrior is 33 too- will he decrease in his abilities?

McFadden hasn't been able to beat out Deshea for a starting spot yet...

And the big one- if the Rooney's sell, the new owner might look at his ownership style much differently to the Rooney's. It could turn out that the Steelers invest in FA much more than ever before.

those are very good points. i hope they get kemo and bmac signed defiently, but they cant invest too much in any of the fa's. all of them have question marks regarding something. the problem is with essex, starks, smith and kemo set to be fa's after this season thats a ton of o-lineman that could be gone. you cant replace that many lineman in the offseason.