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Oviedo
05-18-2009, 01:26 PM
I agree that Miller and Reed are the best possibilities. I also think that Kiesel and Hartwig accpt cap friendly contracts to stay. Neither will break the bank with their next contract so why move and go to a worse situation.

I don't think anyway Hampton or Starks are back in 2010 unless they get tagged. Parker will have to accept a diminished role and contract.


Extension tension


By Dale Lolley
For SteelCityInsider.com
Posted May 17, 2009


Nobody is threatening holdouts, but there's definitely uncertainty surrounding the Steelers and their nine starters who will be free agents at the end of the 2009 season.

News that the NFL was adjusting the salary cap upwards nearly $1 million late last week had to be very good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Prior to the increase, the Steelers barely had enough money to sign their draft picks. The Steelers were slotted in at $4.28 million by the league to sign their draft class. Currently, they have $5.7 million in cap space, enough to sign their draft picks and extend at least a couple of their nine starters who will be free agents at the conclusion of the 2009 season.

But who to extend?

Hereís a look at the impending free agents and their odds of being with the Steelers in 2010:

Jeff Reed, PK, 5-2: Reedís arrest for a an after midnight rant was embarrassing, but heís got ice running through his veins and has mastered the tricky conditions at Heinz Field. He has a base salary of $1.375 million in 2009 with a cap value of $1.95 million. A five-year deal that averages $2 to $2.25 million per season would probably get it done.

Heath Miller, TE, 2-1: This is an interesting one. If a deal isnít reached on a new collective bargaining agreement, instead of reaching unrestricted free agency after five seasons, players would need six years to reach that point. Miller would fall into that category and would be a restricted rather than unrestricted free agent. The Steelers want to keep him, but could hold off until they see what happens with the CBA. His current deal averages $2.4 million per season, but his base salary in 2009 is just $800,000.

Ryan Clark, FS, 4-1: After missing a large portion of the 2007 season, Clark proved his value in 2008. His base salary is $1.7 million in 2009 with a cap hit of $2.413 million. Clark turns 30 in October, but a four-year deal with a modest salary increase could get the deal done. His game is about smarts and bringing big hits, not speed, so he could play into his mid-30s.

Willie Colon, RT, 10-1: Colon signed his restricted free agent tender offer of $2.2 million, a significant raise from what he earned before. A long-term deal would have to take this into account, probably putting him in the four-year, $12- to $15-million rage. Like Miller, however, if thereís no new CBA and the league goes uncapped in 2010, Colon would be a restricted free agent for a second time. The Steelers may wait and see with Colon as well.

Max Starks, LT, 10-1: Given the franchise tag the past two seasons, Starks will make over $16 million in 2008 and 2009. Though both he and the Steelers would like to come to a long-term deal, his $8.45 million base salary makes that difficult. But starting left tackles make big bucks. The Steelers, however, canít pay him more per season than Ben Roethlisberger or James Harrison. It upsets the apple cart. They could continue to slap the franchise tag on him.

Brett Keisel, DE, 15-1: Many assume that with the selection of Ziggy Hood in the draft, Keiselís days are numbered with the Steelers. That very well may be the case, particularly considering he will make a base salary of $3.25 million and count nearly $5 million against the salary cap this season. That cap figure makes it very difficult for the team to sign him to a long-term extension before the season unless heís willing to take a slight pay cut to be this teamís Travis Kirschke, a well-paid spot starter.

Casey Hampton, NT, 20-1: This one will be difficult. Hampton has a base salary of $3.1 million and counts $6.65 million against the cap in 2009. Thatís a lot of cash wrapped up in a two-down player. The nose tackle position is a difficult one to fill, but the team does have Chris Hoke and heís proven to be solid when called upon. Given how quickly nose tackles can decline, itís probably not a good idea to give Hampton a third contract.

Justin Hartwig, C, 25-1: Hartwig is certainly better than his predecessor, Sean Mahan, but really, heís just another guy. Maybe heíll prove to be better than that in 2009, but the Steelers wonít sign him to a long-term deal until he proves it.

Willie Parker, RB, 100-1: With Rashard Mendenhall waiting in the wings and Mewelde Moore also under contract, the Steelers arenít going to sign Parker to a long-term deal unless Mendenhall proves he canít handle the load. Parkerís been a valuable member of two Super Bowl teams, but the shelf life on running backs - particularly those whose game is built on speed Ė isnít great.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

Oviedo
05-18-2009, 01:53 PM
Also not sure what we do about Ryan Clark. It seems like we have been stockpiling DBs with Roy Lewis, Ryan Mundy, Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett. The former two can play Clark's position and I'm not sure what Clark would demand in free agency in the open market as a 30 year old plus Safety.

I'd like to keep him but get the suspicion they are hoping for Lewis or Mundy to be able to replace him.

RuthlessBurgher
05-18-2009, 02:06 PM
I think that they could make an effort to extend Reed and Clark and sign all of their draft picks. Both are Steeler-type guys and won't command outlandish money. There really isn't much money left to do much more than that this offseason. It would be too hard to replace the psychotic Reed when Heinz has a knack for destroying kickers' confidence. And Clark has a good rapport with Polamalu (plus there is no suitable potential replacement for him on the current roster...this is where the failed Anthony Smith project hurts).

Miller is a top priority, but his salary will likely need to double into the $4 million per year range on a long term deal, which we cannot afford to do right now. They likely will let him play out this season at his current salary, then depending on how the CBA situations work out, he will either be a restricted free agent next year, or if not, we will likely slap the franchise tag on him (the franchise tag for TE's is roughly half of what the franchise tag for OT's). Franchising Starks again would require a 20% raise, boosting him over $10 million, which won't happen.

I think there is a 50-50 shot that we re-sign any of the Starks/Colon/Hampton/Kiesel bunch next year. I think, of that group, they bring back one o-lineman and one d-lineman (i.e. Starks and Keisel or Colon and Hampton). I doubt they get anything done with any of these guys this off-season, though. Although it would be nice to extend Starks and reduce his cap number this year to give us more flexibility, it may not be in his best interest to do so when he could just sit back and make $8.5 million this year. Since Keisel's cap number rose this past season, it would be nice to extend him (since he sounds like a guy that really wants to stay and would a valuable cog in a d-line rotation even if he wasn't starting), which could reduce that high number for this season (kind of like Ward's deal). However, I doubt that he would accept an extension which amounted to a pay cut now when he is scheduled to be the starter in 2009. Maybe next year.

I think Hartwig and Parker are somewhere else in 2010. After this season, we could have Stapleton/Shipley/Legursky competing for the center spot and Mendenhall/Moore/Summers at RB. Depth and age catch up to these guys.

Oviedo
05-18-2009, 02:40 PM
I think that they could make an effort to extend Reed and Clark and sign all of their draft picks. Both are Steeler-type guys and won't command outlandish money. There really isn't much money left to do much more than that this offseason. It would be too hard to replace the psychotic Reed when Heinz has a knack for destroying kickers' confidence. And Clark has a good rapport with Polamalu (plus there is no suitable potential replacement for him on the current roster...this is where the failed Anthony Smith project hurts).

Miller is a top priority, but his salary will likely need to double into the $4 million per year range on a long term deal, which we cannot afford to do right now. They likely will let him play out this season at his current salary, then depending on how the CBA situations work out, he will either be a restricted free agent next year, or if not, we will likely slap the franchise tag on him (the franchise tag for TE's is roughly half of what the franchise tag for OT's). Franchising Starks again would require a 20% raise, boosting him over $10 million, which won't happen.

I think there is a 50-50 shot that we re-sign any of the Starks/Colon/Hampton/Kiesel bunch next year. I think, of that group, they bring back one o-lineman and one d-lineman (i.e. Starks and Keisel or Colon and Hampton). I doubt they get anything done with any of these guys this off-season, though. Although it would be nice to extend Starks and reduce his cap number this year to give us more flexibility, it may not be in his best interest to do so when he could just sit back and make $8.5 million this year. Since Keisel's cap number rose this past season, it would be nice to extend him (since he sounds like a guy that really wants to stay and would a valuable cog in a d-line rotation even if he wasn't starting), which could reduce that high number for this season (kind of like Ward's deal). However, I doubt that he would accept an extension which amounted to a pay cut now when he is scheduled to be the starter in 2009. Maybe next year.

I think Hartwig and Parker are somewhere else in 2010. After this season, we could have Stapleton/Shipley/Legursky competing for the center spot and Mendenhall/Moore/Summers at RB. Depth and age catch up to these guys.

I could see it playing out as you describe, but I could see both Hartwig and Parker staying at reduced salaries. Parker never seemed like he was greedy and he seems to resally appreciate what the Steelers have done for him. Parker's big challenge starting this year is if there is enough touches for the RBs we have. If Mendehall or Summers prove they can be an effective 3rd down back it may actually be Moore who is the odd man out in 2010.

Hartwig would be avaluable reserve. He has been both a starting Center and Guard and I don't think Shipley, Legursky or Stapleton are as good at Guard as Hartwig would be. In a reserve role Hartwig could probably play for another 2-3 years albeit at a reduced price.

BradshawsHairdresser
05-20-2009, 11:43 AM
I could see the Steelers letting 6 of these 9 FA's leave after this season, and use the savings to try to lock up players like Woodley and Holmes.

Oviedo
05-20-2009, 01:46 PM
I could see the Steelers letting 6 of these 9 FA's leave after this season, and use the savings to try to lock up players like Woodley and Holmes.

I agree. Woodley and Holmes are very importnat pieces of the future where most of these free agents aren't. Hopefully a couple are willing to take a hometown discount. Kiesel and FWP particularly. The others can leave for cap space.

steelblood
05-20-2009, 01:52 PM
That is about 36 million that we are currently paying those 9 players. Add the dead money from Simmons and Mahan and it is around 43 million or so in cap space.

What I think will happen...

Miller 5 year 20 million dollar contract would put him among the top paid TEs and give him long term security. Cap hit = 4 million. Stays

Reed - Not a great kickoff guy. Very good FG kicker. Value = 2 million per. I think he'll get it or a little more probably from the STeelers. Stays

Starks - this is a tough one. I believe that the Steelers would have to add 20% to his current number if they tagged him again. That seems insane. If max will play ball for about 7 million per year (what he is worth), a long term deal could be struck. I doubt he will, so we'll have to look at other options in FA and the draft to replace him. Goes

Hampton - He is going to want 5 mil per season minimum and he'll get it. I doubt it will be here. Goes

Keisel - He is over 30 and never has been anything more than serviceable over the course of a season. He has never consistantly generated the QB pressure that the team expected from him and his run stuffing/blocker occupying ability is adequate to good. With all the 3-4 teams now, someone will overpay him. Goes

Parker - I sure hope they don't resign him as I don't think he's grown much as a runner and is beginning to show some wear and tear. His vision is poor. I love his effort and speed, but frankly, Moore runs just as well (maybe better) between the tackles. I have no idea if Mendenhall will pan out or not. If he does, Parker is gone. He is certainly not worth 4-5 million per season. Goes

Hartwig - This is a tough one. If he plays for peanuts, keep him. He may want a little more after starting for a Super Bowl team. Hopefully, Shipley or Stapleton will be able to take over. Goes

Colon - If he is reasonable (4 million per season), he should stay. But, like Kemo, after testing the market, the Steelers will be in play for his services. This could go either way, but I say...Goes

Clark - I think he loves it here. 3-3.5 per season for 3-4 years. Stays.

That's Clark, Heath, and Reed for 9-11 million per.

That leaves around 30 -34 million in cap savings from losing dead money payments, Starks, Keisel, Hampton, Parker, Colon, and Hartwig.

Since we likely have replacements Keisel, Parker, and perhaps Hartwig. Most of that remaining money will be used to find a NT, LT, and RT. Probably the steelers will make a competitive offer to STarks or HAmpton. Hopefully one of them stays at a reasonable rate. If not, we'll need a great draft and some budget-friendly UFAs to simply place moderately efftective band aids on these positions. As another poster pointed out, we also need to keep some future flexibility so that we can resign Holmes and Woodley, and perhaps Taylor in 2011.

I don't envy Kevin Colbert.

Oviedo
05-20-2009, 02:13 PM
That is about 36 million that we are currently paying those 9 players. Add the dead money from Simmons and Mahan and it is around 43 million or so in cap space.

What I think will happen...

Miller 5 year 20 million dollar contract would put him among the top paid TEs and give him long term security. Cap hit = 4 million. Stays

Reed - Not a great kickoff guy. Very good FG kicker. Value = 2 million per. I think he'll get it or a little more probably from the STeelers. Stays

Starks - this is a tough one. I believe that the Steelers would have to add 20% to his current number if they tagged him again. That seems insane. If max will play ball for about 7 million per year (what he is worth), a long term deal could be struck. I doubt he will, so we'll have to look at other options in FA and the draft to replace him. Goes

Hampton - He is going to want 5 mil per season minimum and he'll get it. I doubt it will be here. Goes

Keisel - He is over 30 and never has been anything more than serviceable over the course of a season. He has never consistantly generated the QB pressure that the team expected from him and his run stuffing/blocker occupying ability is adequate to good. With all the 3-4 teams now, someone will overpay him. Goes

Parker - I sure hope they don't resign him as I don't think he's grown much as a runner and is beginning to show some wear and tear. His vision is poor. I love his effort and speed, but frankly, Moore runs just as well (maybe better) between the tackles. I have no idea if Mendenhall will pan out or not. If he does, Parker is gone. He is certainly not worth 4-5 million per season. Goes

Hartwig - This is a tough one. If he plays for peanuts, keep him. He may want a little more after starting for a Super Bowl team. Hopefully, Shipley or Stapleton will be able to take over. Goes

Colon - If he is reasonable (4 million per season), he should stay. But, like Kemo, after testing the market, the Steelers will be in play for his services. This could go either way, but I say...Goes

Clark - I think he loves it here. 3-3.5 per season for 3-4 years. Stays.

That's Clark, Heath, and Reed for 9-11 million per.

That leaves around 30 -34 million in cap savings from losing dead money payments, Starks, Keisel, Hampton, Parker, Colon, and Hartwig.

Since we likely have replacements Keisel, Parker, and perhaps Hartwig. Most of that remaining money will be used to find a NT, LT, and RT. Probably the steelers will make a competitive offer to STarks or HAmpton. Hopefully one of them stays at a reasonable rate. If not, we'll need a great draft and some budget-friendly UFAs to simply place moderately efftective band aids on these positions. As another poster pointed out, we also need to keep some future flexibility so that we can resign Holmes and Woodley, and perhaps Taylor in 2011.

I don't envy Kevin Colbert.

Well thought out and generally agree. I don't think there is anyway they can resign Starks without overpaying him. Finding a solution for both OT positions in free agency would be cost prohibitive which is why I think Colon will be resigned to a deal similar to Kemo so add him to the "stays."

Left Tackle will be areal quandry because we won't be able to afford Starks and no rookie will be able to step ind do the job as low as we are likely to bepicking. The great hope has to be Tony Hills. If he is a legit talent he almost single handedly solves the biggest problem on the OL.

I also would not be so sure that Hartwig is destined to be gone. He knows he is at the end of his career and will not get another big payday. It would benefit both him and the Steelers to sign him to a reasonable contract and have him to back up at both Center and Guard. His experience and position flexibility could be invaluable in the event of an injury.