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fordfixer
04-15-2009, 11:14 PM
Which Steeler is next to get a new deal?

http://www.timesonline.com/articles/200 ... 700255.txt (http://www.timesonline.com/articles/2009/04/14/sports/steelers/doc49e4d5dfafa61038700255.txt)

By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
Published: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:29 PM EDT
PITTSBURGH -- Now that James Harrison’s new deal is done, who’s next to have his contract extended?


Traditionally, the Steelers prefer to lock in star players before they enter into the last year of their existing contracts.


With Harrison agreeing to a six-year, $51.175 million deal on Monday, that leaves the Steelers with at least 12 key contributors in the final year of their contracts.


Here’s a list of them according to their importance:


WHO SHOULD BE EXTENDED BEFORE THE SEASON


Heath Miller, tight end


Because of the way the Steelers throw the ball, Miller will probably never catch enough passes to earn Pro Bowl recognition. But to the Steelers, Miller is an all-star. He’s only 26 and very much in the prime of his career. He’s a keeper.


Willie Parker, running back


Now 28, Parker is entering his sixth season. He’s been injured for parts of the past two seasons. Considering that studies show that average career for an NFL running back lasts less than three years, Parker may have already peaked. Still, there’s hope Parker has at least two more electrifying years left in him.


Max Starks, tackle


After the Steelers tagged Starks a franchise player, he quickly signed the offer which guarantees him $8.5 million this year. That’s the average of the top 10 salaries at his position last year. Ideally, the Steelers want to lock Starks into a long-term deal. Why not? He’s already started on two Super Bowl teams. He’s huge (6-foot-8 and 345 pounds). And he’s only 27.


Hines Ward, wide receiver


Players get new deals not because of what they’ve done in the past, but what they can do in the future. And even at 33, Ward still has much to give. He caught 81 passes last year and went over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2004. And he was still throwing those bone-crunching blocks of his.


Ryan Clark, free safety


There may be better safeties in the NFL, but no one is more feared by pass catchers crossing the middle of the field than Clark. Just ask New England’s Wes Welker or Baltimore’s Willis McGahee. Most importantly, Clark is an intelligent safety who’s so important to the way the Steelers play defense.


WHO MIGHT BE EXTENDED BEFORE THE SEASON


Casey Hampton, nose tackle


“Big Hamp” already got his monster contract four years ago when he got a signing bonus close to $7 million. Because he plays only half the game (he leaves the fields on passing downs), the Steelers won’t break the bank to keep him. But he still is a great run stuffer, and great defense always starts with stopping the run.


Willie Colon, tackle


This tough guy from the Bronx, NY, may someday move inside and play guard. But wherever he plays, the Steelers like him. He’s a physical brawler who’s started every game the past two years. And he’s only 26.


WHO PROBABLY WON'T BE EXTENDED BEFORE THE SEASON


Brett Keisel, defensive end


Considering he was a seventh-round pick in the ‘02 draft, Keisel has had a very good ride. He’s a great guy in the clubhouse. But he certainly isn’t the most spectacular 3-4 D-end in the NFL. With the Steelers projecting to pick a defensive end in this year’s draft, there may be no reason to sign Keisel to an extension.


Jeff Reed, kicker


He’s a little bit of a flake (witness his off-season police blotter incident when he punched out a towel dispenser in a Sheetz’s restroom). But Reed has been Mr. Clutch the past two years, connecting on 50 of 56 field goal attempts. Still, he is kicker, so there is no hurry to lock him in long-term.


Justin Hartwig, center


If the Steelers pick a center in the first or second round of this year’s draft, Hartwig’s chances of getting an extension drop dramatically. At times last year, Hartwig received rave reviews from the coaches. But no one’s that clamoring that Hartwig is the Steelers’ next great center.


Deshea Townsend, cornerback


This wily veteran will be 34 in September, so the Steelers are in no hurry to sign him long-term. That’s especially true with William Gay primed to move into the spot vacated by Bryant McFadden’s departure. But because Townsend is still a solid cover corner, he maybe brought back in 2010 to provide depth and leadership.


Larry Foote, inside linebacker


Foote’s days as a Steeler may be numbered At least his days as a starter are. It’s time for Lawrence Timmons, the No. draft pick two years ago, to step into a starting role. If Foote wants to start again, he’ll have to test free agency in 2010.

Snatch98
04-16-2009, 12:47 AM
Heath Miller is a must, MUST in my opinion. I'd be super bummed if he ends up elsewhere. He may be my favorite Steeler.

AngryAsian
04-16-2009, 07:32 AM
Heath and Wood. Everybody else will have to be satisfied with contract extensions that are equitable. I'm concerned about Willie. He's not shown durability this past season and though he was in contention for the running title in 2007, he's been injury prone since breaking his leg at the end of that season. Personally, I'd like to see a backfield by consensus this year, but our OC will most likely not entertain such thoughts.

Oviedo
04-16-2009, 08:02 AM
Heath and Wood. Everybody else will have to be satisfied with contract extensions that are equitable. I'm concerned about Willie. He's not shown durability this past season and though he was in contention for the running title in 2007, he's been injury prone since breaking his leg at the end of that season. Personally, I'd like to see a backfield by consensus this year, but our OC will most likely not entertain such thoughts.

I agree that Miller has to be the priority. Hopefully he does not want to go to another team that uses their TE much more where he would definitely become an Pro Bowl player. Something he will be overlooked for as long as he is in P-burgh.

I'd like to see them extend Starks but I think that will be very hard to do since he will be looking for at least $15M in guaranteed money. I think he is a much better player than many give him credit for being.

Woodley is part of that group of players who will get screwed when the CBA expires because it means he can't be a FA until after his sixth year. That means we have him for at least four more. He would be smart to try to get a new contract with a nice guaranteed amount of $10M as a precaution against injury but I think the Steelers will make him wait.

Ward should stay but he is going to have to be willing to accept Bettis like deals to stay here. His intangibles are still very valuable but he has to want to do what needs to be done to remain a Steeler.

Don't underestimate the value of Jeff Reed. He is money as a kicker in the toughest satdium in the NFL to kick in. Other guys wilt here and we still need FGs to win games.

As far as Parker, see the Ward comment. He has to accept a cap friendly contract. IMO--By mid-season he will be a clear #2 to Mendenhall. In a RB by committee" league, RB is the easiest psotion to replace. We have proven we can win without him.

As far as the others I would only like to see Kiesel stay because I think he is a good character guy who still contributes.

AngryAsian
04-16-2009, 08:37 AM
Heath and Wood. Everybody else will have to be satisfied with contract extensions that are equitable. I'm concerned about Willie. He's not shown durability this past season and though he was in contention for the running title in 2007, he's been injury prone since breaking his leg at the end of that season. Personally, I'd like to see a backfield by consensus this year, but our OC will most likely not entertain such thoughts.

I agree that Miller has to be the priority. Hopefully he does not want to go to another team that uses their TE much more where he would definitely become an Pro Bowl player. Something he will be overlooked for as long as he is in P-burgh.

I'd like to see them extend Starks but I think that will be very hard to do since he will be looking for at least $15M in guaranteed money. I think he is a much better player than many give him credit for being.

Woodley is part of that group of players who will get screwed when the CBA expires because it means he can't be a FA until after his sixth year. That means we have him for at least four more. He would be smart to try to get a new contract with a nice guaranteed amount of $10M as a precaution against injury but I think the Steelers will make him wait.

Ward should stay but he is going to have to be willing to accept Bettis like deals to stay here. His intangibles are still very valuable but he has to want to do what needs to be done to remain a Steeler.

Don't underestimate the value of Jeff Reed. He is money as a kicker in the toughest satdium in the NFL to kick in. Other guys wilt here and we still need FGs to win games.

As far as Parker, see the Ward comment. He has to accept a cap friendly contract. IMO--By mid-season he will be a clear #2 to Mendenhall. In a RB by committee" league, RB is the easiest psotion to replace. We have proven we can win without him.

As far as the others I would only like to see Kiesel stay because I think he is a good character guy who still contributes.


Agree on all points made, brother... especially your assessment on Willie and his role on this team. Mendy is the heir apparent and hopefully we'll use both effectively to where we can have both in the backfield being interchanged and not wear either of them down to injury.

RuthlessBurgher
04-16-2009, 10:17 AM
Move Keisel and Reed up the list and Parker down the list.

papillon
04-16-2009, 10:25 AM
Move Keisel and Reed up the list and Parker down the list.

I love Willie Parker, but I have to agree with this assessment. I am hoping for a strong return this upcoming year for Willie. He's been an asset since he's been a Steeler and I'm hoping for a good year out of him, so that, he earns a spot in the future.

If he doesn't have the year I'm hoping for then it may be time to part ways.

Pappy

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
04-16-2009, 11:51 AM
Starks
Miller
Colon
Ward(Maybe re-work & extend)
Clark


I expect Reed to get an offer before FA next year but the steelers won't break the bank on him. Parker & Hampton might have to play out their last year. Difficult to gauge them both. If Mendenhall has a monster year I don't expect a big offer from the Steelers. I think the Hampton issue hinges on the draft and the drafted players promise. Keisel & Townsend will have to take huge hometown discounts to stay. Hartwig will have to take back-up money to stay. Foote will get a nice contract elsewhere.

BradshawsHairdresser
04-16-2009, 02:48 PM
Which Steeler is next up for a new deal?

Guess it won't be Gary Russell...

grotonsteel
04-16-2009, 03:04 PM
Starks
Heath
Holmes
Woodley

BradshawsHairdresser
04-16-2009, 04:03 PM
It ought to be Ryan Clark, according to the evaluation of several on this board (see the Ryan Clark thread):

--He provides shut-down coverage
--He's at the top of the league's safeties when it comes to run-support
--He's the best possible complement to Troy P.

I'd guess 6 years, $47 million.


:roll:

Slapstick
04-16-2009, 04:37 PM
IMO, Heath Miller is should be the biggest priority...

I don't foresee Hampton or Keisel getting contract extensions...

Personally, I truly believe that the Steelers are will change to a different defense, probably a 4-3 after LeBeau retires...

If you look at the defensive players that will be under contract long term, they aren't necessarily limited by the 3-4 alignment:

Aaron Smith
Troy Polamalu
James Farrior
James Harrison

Then, consider the young stars currently on the roster:

Lawrence Timmons
Lamarr Woodley

Again, not limited by the 3-4 alignment...

Guys like Foote and Keisel probably couldn't play in anything other than a 3-4...Hampton could, but I don't see him signing long term...

If the Steelers draft Alphonso Smith and Jarron Gilbert in the first two rounds, as they very well could, I will be even more convinced...

Mister Pittsburgh
04-17-2009, 03:02 AM
I would say Heath, Kiesel, Reid, Clark.

Oviedo
04-17-2009, 07:47 AM
IMO, Heath Miller is should be the biggest priority...

I don't foresee Hampton or Keisel getting contract extensions...

Personally, I truly believe that the Steelers are will change to a different defense, probably a 4-3 after LeBeau retires...

If you look at the defensive players that will be under contract long term, they aren't necessarily limited by the 3-4 alignment:

Aaron Smith
Troy Polamalu
James Farrior
James Harrison

Then, consider the young stars currently on the roster:

Lawrence Timmons
Lamarr Woodley

Again, not limited by the 3-4 alignment...

Guys like Foote and Keisel probably couldn't play in anything other than a 3-4...Hampton could, but I don't see him signing long term...

If the Steelers draft Alphonso Smith and Jarron Gilbert in the first two rounds, as they very well could, I will be even more convinced...


I would disagree about Kiesel. Kiesel would be better as a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 DE.

As far as the general thought we are going to switch to a 3-4. I don't see it unless we really start to have problems rebuilding our 3-4 defensive line and I've always been an advocate of at least considering the switch. The current defense is too successful.

Slapstick
04-17-2009, 11:25 AM
I would disagree about Kiesel. Kiesel would be better as a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 DE.

As far as the general thought we are going to switch to a 3-4. I don't see it unless we really start to have problems rebuilding our 3-4 defensive line and I've always been an advocate of at least considering the switch. The current defense is too successful.

At one time, I might have agreed with you about Kiesel...but not now...

I don't necessarily believe that the Steelers should switch to a 4-3 defense...but, I would certainly think hard about it when LeBeau finally retires...

Cowher tried to plug in DCs who weren't Dick LeBeau with limited success...the Steelers 3-4 Zone Blitz just doesn't work as well when you have a Jim Haslett or a Tim Lewis running it...if you can't get Dom Capers to do it, then you shouldn't rule out a change...

But, that's just my opinion...

RuthlessBurgher
04-17-2009, 12:17 PM
I would disagree about Kiesel. Kiesel would be better as a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 DE.

As far as the general thought we are going to switch to a 3-4. I don't see it unless we really start to have problems rebuilding our 3-4 defensive line and I've always been an advocate of at least considering the switch. The current defense is too successful.

At one time, I might have agreed with you about Kiesel...but not now...

I don't necessarily believe that the Steelers should switch to a 4-3 defense...but, I would certainly think hard about it when LeBeau finally retires...

Cowher tried to plug in DCs who weren't bad word LeBeau with limited success...the Steelers 3-4 Zone Blitz just doesn't work as well when you have a Jim Haslett or a Tim Lewis running it...if you can't get Dom Capers to do it, then you shouldn't rule out a change...

But, that's just my opinion...

Who is to say that Keith Butler would be like Jim Haslett or Tim Lewis, though? He has just as much of a chance to be another Capers or LeBeau as he has of being another Haslett or Lewis.

Slapstick
04-17-2009, 02:19 PM
Who is to say that Keith Butler would be like Jim Haslett or Tim Lewis, though? He has just as much of a chance to be another Capers or LeBeau as he has of being another Haslett or Lewis.

I don't think so...when an assistant has true talent, chances are that other teams take notice and scoop that guy up...

Marvin Lewis was the Steelers LB coach and went on to win a SB as Ravens' DC and eventually a head coach...

After SB XXX, the Jets wanted Chan Gailey for their OC...Cowher dumped Ron Erhardt and promoted Gailey...Gailey went on to become HC for Dallas (where he was fired after making the playoffs twice!!)...

Bob Bratkowski was WR coach in Pittsburgh and went on to become OC for the Bengals...they had some good years on O in Cincy...

There are other coaches that the Steelers lost...Butler isn't one of them...the only sniff he's had was earlier this year in Arizona...

RuthlessBurgher
04-17-2009, 02:49 PM
Who is to say that Keith Butler would be like Jim Haslett or Tim Lewis, though? He has just as much of a chance to be another Capers or LeBeau as he has of being another Haslett or Lewis.

I don't think so...when an assistant has true talent, chances are that other teams take notice and scoop that guy up...

Marvin Lewis was the Steelers LB coach and went on to win a SB as Ravens' DC and eventually a head coach...

After SB XXX, the Jets wanted Chan Gailey for their OC...Cowher dumped Ron Erhardt and promoted Gailey...Gailey went on to become HC for Dallas (where he was fired after making the playoffs twice!!)...

Bob Bratkowski was WR coach in Pittsburgh and went on to become OC for the Bengals...they had some good years on O in Cincy...

There are other coaches that the Steelers lost...Butler isn't one of them...the only sniff he's had was earlier this year in Arizona...

Butler's not head coach material, but he might be a quality coordinator if given the chance. I hope that "Bad Word" stays for awhile, and we don't have to find out for several more years, though.

AkronSteel
04-19-2009, 11:44 AM
I think Hines is the next one to get an extension because the team needs cap relief to resign Heath! I think Hines will get a nice extension probably around 3 years and turn his current salary for this year into a signing bonus. That will free up the funds needed to sign Heath to his extension. I would suppose Heath will probably get a 5 or 6 year extension worth 5 million per. That is how I think things will work themselves out.

:2c

BURGH86STEEL
04-19-2009, 04:32 PM
I would disagree about Kiesel. Kiesel would be better as a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 DE.

As far as the general thought we are going to switch to a 3-4. I don't see it unless we really start to have problems rebuilding our 3-4 defensive line and I've always been an advocate of at least considering the switch. The current defense is too successful.

At one time, I might have agreed with you about Kiesel...but not now...

I don't necessarily believe that the Steelers should switch to a 4-3 defense...but, I would certainly think hard about it when LeBeau finally retires...

Cowher tried to plug in DCs who weren't bad word LeBeau with limited success...the Steelers 3-4 Zone Blitz just doesn't work as well when you have a Jim Haslett or a Tim Lewis running it...if you can't get Dom Capers to do it, then you shouldn't rule out a change...

But, that's just my opinion...

They had some pretty good defensive units under Haslett and Lewis. They finished with the number one defense in the league under Lewis one year. There are other DC's in the league that can run the 3-4 outside of Lebeau and Capers.

Steel Life
04-19-2009, 09:24 PM
Heath...because aside from Hines, he's the most valuable player of those eligible, plus he's still in his prime. Hines will get re-done eventually, but I think the team wants to see how he performs this year first...same with Willie.

I think Snack's time is done here, I don't think Tomlin is the biggest fan & with his age & weight going up, that's a bad combination. Keisel will be cheap to retain or will end up playing out his string somewhere else.

I also think Clark is not the slam-dunk re-signing that some do. The team brought in Mundy last year & all indications are that we'll see another brought in this year.