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phillyesq
06-22-2009, 04:46 PM
From Dale Lolley's Blog:



Monday, June 22, 2009
Talks continue
My sources tell me that the Steelers are continuing talks with some of their players who will be free agents at the conclusion of the 2009 season, most notably offensive tackle Max Starks and tight end Heath Miller.

The Steelers are hopeful their can get something done with both players by the first couple of weeks of August at the latest.

Miller is a high priority because the Steelers feel he is one of the best tight ends in the NFL and is continuing to improve.

The Steelers also believe Starks is a solid left tackle and will also continue to improve with more playing time on the left side. They'd also like to lower his cap total.

It would be great to see the Steelers lock up Heath long term. As for Starks, well, it would be nice to reduce his cap hit.

ramblinjim
06-22-2009, 07:41 PM
From Dale Lolley's Blog:



Monday, June 22, 2009
Talks continue
My sources tell me that the Steelers are continuing talks with some of their players who will be free agents at the conclusion of the 2009 season, most notably offensive tackle Max Starks and tight end Heath Miller.

The Steelers are hopeful their can get something done with both players by the first couple of weeks of August at the latest.

Miller is a high priority because the Steelers feel he is one of the best tight ends in the NFL and is continuing to improve.

The Steelers also believe Starks is a solid left tackle and will also continue to improve with more playing time on the left side. They'd also like to lower his cap total.

It would be great to see the Steelers lock up Heath long term. As for Starks, well, it would be nice to reduce his cap hit.


I'll take any Steelers related news I can get my hands on at this point in the off-season. Thanks for posting.

frankthetank1
06-23-2009, 10:16 AM
very good news. they cant let heath go free agent. he is the best te i have ever seen with the steelers imo. also if they could lower stark's cap hit it would help out a lot. i would love to see clark re-signed but i dont know if all three are realistic at this point

RuthlessBurgher
06-23-2009, 10:42 AM
very good news. they cant let heath go free agent. he is the best te i have ever seen with the steelers imo. also if they could lower stark's cap hit it would help out a lot. i would love to see clark re-signed but i dont know if all three are realistic at this point

If they aren't able to sign Heath this off-season, one of two things will happen...neither of which will result in us losing Miller.

If the NFL goes to an uncapped year after this season, Heath will be a restricted free agent since he will only have 5 accrued years of service (in this scenario, 6 accrued seasons will be required to attain unrestricted free agency). We will sign him to the highest possible RFA tender (this year it was $2,562,000 for right of first refusal or we would receive one first-round and one third-round pick).

If the NFL does not go to an uncapped year after this season, Heath will be franchised. The franchise tag for TE's is nearly half of what we have been paying to have an o-lineman franchised (this year it was $4.46 million for TE's vs. $8.45 million for OL). Starks won't be franchised again, because it would require a 20% raise, which would bring his cap hit over $10 million next year.

Oviedo
06-23-2009, 10:56 AM
The question is who is the higher priority? As much as I hate to say it because Hetah is one of my favorite players it would be easier to replace a TE than it would a LT.

phillyesq
06-23-2009, 11:17 AM
The question is who is the higher priority? As much as I hate to say it because Hetah is one of my favorite players it would be easier to replace a TE than it would a LT.

Wow, interesting question. My knee jerk reaction is to say that Heath is the higher priority. But you make a very good point about the difficulty of replacing a LT. It seems like Essex, Hills and Capizzi are the only other options currently on the roster at LT. Blech. If Starks refuses to agree to a reasonable deal, I suppose it would either be Essex and a need-pick forced at OT competing; either that or a veteran LT on his last legs competing with Essex, unless Hills and/or Capizzi step up. I don't place a ton of faith in Hills, but I suppose that his development is key to determining priority.

As for Heath, part of what makes him so valuable is that he contributes both as a blocker and in the passing game. Spaeth is fine in the short/intermediate passing game, and blocking TEs can easily be found. But finding a true, multidimensional TE like Heath is very difficult -- there just don't seem to be many of those players around.

Oviedo
06-23-2009, 11:28 AM
The question is who is the higher priority? As much as I hate to say it because Hetah is one of my favorite players it would be easier to replace a TE than it would a LT.

Wow, interesting question. My knee jerk reaction is to say that Heath is the higher priority. But you make a very good point about the difficulty of replacing a LT. It seems like Essex, Hills and Capizzi are the only other options currently on the roster at LT. Blech. If Starks refuses to agree to a reasonable deal, I suppose it would either be Essex and a need-pick forced at OT competing; either that or a veteran LT on his last legs competing with Essex, unless Hills and/or Capizzi step up. I don't place a ton of faith in Hills, but I suppose that his development is key to determining priority.

As for Heath, part of what makes him so valuable is that he contributes both as a blocker and in the passing game. Spaeth is fine in the short/intermediate passing game, and blocking TEs can easily be found. But finding a true, multidimensional TE like Heath is very difficult -- there just don't seem to be many of those players around.

Hills is really the key. Hopefully he can prove to be NFL ready.

The LT position is really a problem. Veteran free agents are way to expensive as we saw this past off season. We never draft high enough to get a rookie who could even have a remote chance of stepping in and playing. That means you keep what you have and try to develop internal talent. This is the route we have to go down.

Acero
06-23-2009, 01:02 PM
Well, Starks is now locked up with the team for the next 4 years (along with Kemoeatu)... so that leaves us with Heath to worry about. And no more looking around for pricey FA LT's.