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PSU_dropout43
09-08-2009, 02:19 PM
Hartwig signs a new four-year deal
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

By BOB LABRIOLA
Steelers.com
They got one more done before the deadline.

The Steelers have signed starting center Justin Hartwig to a new four-year contract that will bind him to the team through the 2012 season. With one season left on his previous deal, Hartwig could have become an unrestricted free agent in March 2010.

Its a great feeling, said Hartwig. I just go to work every day and do my job and let these things take care of themselves. Fortunately it did, and it was right before the start of the season. I feel blessed to hopefully finish my career with the Steelers. Its a great organization, and Im glad Im going to be a part of it for a few more years to come.

The team has a policy of not negotiating contracts once the regular season begins, and that makes Thursday, Sept. 10, the deadline because thats when the Steelers host the Tennessee Titans in the 2009 opening game.

Hartwig signed a two-year deal when he came to the team in 2008 after being released by Carolina, and he won a training camp battle for the starting center spot over incumbent Sean Mahan. Signed as an unrestricted free agent in 2007 from Tampa Bay, Mahan proved unable to deal with the bigger nose tackles in the AFC, which caused the Steelers to look for an alternative.

You just dont know what is going to happen, said Hartwig. I was released just a year ago from another team and fortunately things turned around for me here in Pittsburgh. Its good to know you are going to be in a certain place for an extended period of time. I was going into the year thinking I was going to be a free agent again in five months. It is nice to know Im going to be here for longer that. I am just happy to be a part of the organization.

Hartwig, who will be 31 on Nov. 21, started all 19 games at center for the Steelers last season. He was part of an offensive line that had to overcome several changes in personnel, some by design and other caused by injury.

Chris Kemoeatu replaced left guard Alan Faneca, who left via free agency, and Hartwig won the battle for the center job over Mahan. But before September was over, injuries had claimed both Marvel Smith and Kendall Simmons, and so the Steelers ended up with different guys at left tackle and right guard as well.

Hartwig hopes stability will help the unit this season.

As an offensive line you have to have five guys working as one, and you have to have continuity along that front, said Hartwig. When there are guys in and out every year it can make things difficult. We have been fortunate enough to have the same group of guys from last season together and going into this season. Hopefully we play for several more years together.

So far this offseason, the Steelers have negotiated new contracts with Brett Keisel, James Harrison, Kemoeatu, Starks, Essex, Keyaron Fox, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Charlie Batch, Andre Frazier and now Hartwig.

RuthlessBurgher
09-08-2009, 02:23 PM
Shocked by this. I thought Hartwig was way down the totem pole for a new contract behind Clark, Reed, Hampton, Colon, Parker, etc. I need to see what the contract parameters look like before commenting further.

papillon
09-08-2009, 02:31 PM
I don't get this one, unless, the deal is extremely cap friendly. That's three of the linemen that some loathe that have signed long term. It appears that the coaching staff believes that this offensive line is all that and a bag of chips.

Starks, Hartwig and Kemoeatu all extended this off season. I guess there isn't going to be many changes on the offensive line for a few years.

Pappy

RuthlessBurgher
09-08-2009, 02:34 PM
The numbers are in.


Steelers sign one more veteran before season starts
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers came to one final contract extension before the regular season starts when center Justin Hartwig today signed a four-year, $10 million contract. The deal includes a $2.1 million signing bonus.

It will be the final contract extension the team does this season, sources say.

Hartwig enters his second season as the Steelers starting center since he signed as a free agent in 2008.

BigLebowski
09-08-2009, 02:37 PM
The numbers are in.


Steelers sign one more veteran before season starts
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers came to one final contract extension before the regular season starts when center Justin Hartwig today signed a four-year, $10 million contract. The deal includes a $2.1 million signing bonus.

It will be the final contract extension the team does this season, sources say.

Hartwig enters his second season as the Steelers starting center since he signed as a free agent in 2008.

$2.5 million per year for a starting center, seems like a steal to me. Go Steeler Brass. :Steel

RuthlessBurgher
09-08-2009, 02:49 PM
He originally signed a 2 year deal worth $3,725,000, which averaged out to $1,862,500 per year. This new contract eliminates the second year of that deal and replaces it with a new deal whose average salary works out to $2,500,000. The most important number, though, is the relatively meager $2,100,000 signing bonus, which means that the team can still cut him at any point without a huge cap penalty. If he were cut after this season the cap hit would be $1,575,000, if he were cut after the 2010 season the cap hit would be $1,050,000, and if he were cut after the 2011 season the cap hit would be $525,000. It basically gives the team the option of having a reliable starter who we can easily dump at any point if something better comes along.

phillyesq
09-08-2009, 02:56 PM
He originally signed a 2 year deal worth $3,725,000, which averaged out to $1,862,500 per year. This new contract eliminates the second year of that deal and replaces it with a new deal whose average salary works out to $2,500,000. The most important number, though, is the relatively meager $2,100,000 signing bonus, which means that the team can still cut him at any point without a huge cap penalty. If he were cut after this season the cap hit would be $1,575,000, if he were cut after the 2010 season the cap hit would be $1,050,000, and if he were cut after the 2011 season the cap hit would be $525,000. It basically gives the team the option of having a reliable starter who we can easily dump at any point if something better comes along.

I was very surprised to read this, especially since the Steelers have guys like Legursky and Shipley who are potentially younger, cheaper options that can be plugged in without a large drop-off in play. With the cap friendly terms of the deal though, I like this move.

As Ruthless pointed out, this gives the team flexibility and options without significant financial restrictions. Well done.

Oviedo
09-08-2009, 02:57 PM
Like I said both sides have to want to make a deal and the only thing that matters is that it fits into the long term benefit of the team. Hartwig knows he is in a good place and is willing to take the "bird in the hand versus two in the bush" to stay a Steeler. Keep in mind that Hartwig was with two previous teams so he probably knows first hand how good it is to be part of the Steelers organization.

Everyone of the remaining upcoming free agents will have a chance to do the same.

papillon
09-08-2009, 03:49 PM
Like I said both sides have to want to make a deal and the only thing that matters is that it fits into the long term benefit of the team. Hartwig knows he is in a good place and is willing to take the "bird in the hand versus two in the bush" to stay a Steeler. Keep in mind that Hartwig was with two previous teams so he probably knows first hand how good it is to be part of the Steelers organization.

Everyone of the remaining upcoming free agents will have a chance to do the same.

Who won't be around to free up the cap space that it will take to sign Clark, Hampton, Colon and Reed? Or, which won't be offered?

Papillon

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
09-08-2009, 03:51 PM
Hartwig has been solid but more importantly healthy. Looks like a cap friendly deal with no long term binds. Gives the Steelers some more time to develop or find his replacement. Veterans want that security at this point in their career. Playing for a winner obviously means something to him. Congrats and a thanks to him for being a true Steeler. Vet Steelers...Take notes!!!

Oviedo
09-08-2009, 04:20 PM
Like I said both sides have to want to make a deal and the only thing that matters is that it fits into the long term benefit of the team. Hartwig knows he is in a good place and is willing to take the "bird in the hand versus two in the bush" to stay a Steeler. Keep in mind that Hartwig was with two previous teams so he probably knows first hand how good it is to be part of the Steelers organization.

Everyone of the remaining upcoming free agents will have a chance to do the same.

Who won't be around to free up the cap space that it will take to sign Clark, Hampton, Colon and Reed? Or, which won't be offered?

Papillon

The cap won't matter. The Steelers I think have already figured that and are playing out a strategy that there will be no CBA. That means some players won't be Unrestricted Free Agents (Willie Colon) and they will be able to tag up to three players.

Essentially they are buying themselves another year with this core group. Smart moves IMO.

Eddie Spaghetti
09-08-2009, 04:26 PM
i like it. continuity at the C position is never a bad thing.

he may not be dirt dawson, but he is better than alot of people give him credit for.

nice work FO.

fezziwig
09-08-2009, 04:52 PM
Sounds like the FO is doing their job.

frankthetank1
09-08-2009, 04:53 PM
first reaction i was shocked that hartwig not clark got the last deal before season's end but when i saw the terms i calmed down. no way clark would sign for that little money im sure he will want more than that. very good sign imo. hartwig was solid last season and injury free

RussBII
09-08-2009, 04:54 PM
He originally signed a 2 year deal worth $3,725,000, which averaged out to $1,862,500 per year. This new contract eliminates the second year of that deal and replaces it with a new deal whose average salary works out to $2,500,000. The most important number, though, is the relatively meager $2,100,000 signing bonus, which means that the team can still cut him at any point without a huge cap penalty. If he were cut after this season the cap hit would be $1,575,000, if he were cut after the 2010 season the cap hit would be $1,050,000, and if he were cut after the 2011 season the cap hit would be $525,000. It basically gives the team the option of having a reliable starter who we can easily dump at any point if something better comes along.

I was very surprised to read this, especially since the Steelers have guys like Legursky and Shipley who are potentially younger, cheaper options that can be plugged in without a large drop-off in play. With the cap friendly terms of the deal though, I like this move.

As Ruthless pointed out, this gives the team flexibility and options without significant financial restrictions. Well done.

I'm thinking maybe it shows the FO doesn't have much faith in Legursky or Shipley. We all saw how a horrible C can just decimate your line (cough, MAHAN, cough).

RuthlessBurgher
09-08-2009, 05:53 PM
Like I said both sides have to want to make a deal and the only thing that matters is that it fits into the long term benefit of the team. Hartwig knows he is in a good place and is willing to take the "bird in the hand versus two in the bush" to stay a Steeler. Keep in mind that Hartwig was with two previous teams so he probably knows first hand how good it is to be part of the Steelers organization.

Everyone of the remaining upcoming free agents will have a chance to do the same.

Who won't be around to free up the cap space that it will take to sign Clark, Hampton, Colon and Reed? Or, which won't be offered?

Papillon

The cap won't matter. The Steelers I think have already figured that and are playing out a strategy that there will be no CBA. That means some players won't be Unrestricted Free Agents (Willie Colon) and they will be able to tag up to three players.

Essentially they are buying themselves another year with this core group. Smart moves IMO.

I believe the extra tag is a transition tag, not another franchise tag. With the transition tag, the player gets the average of the top 10 players at that position (as opposed to top 5 for a franchise tag) and we would still have right of first refusal to match another team's offer to retain the player. However, unlike the franchise tag, there is no draft compensation if we choose not to match that offer. If you recall, Starks was given a transition tag prior to the 2008 season, and was given a franchise tag prior to the 2009 season (which was rendered moot when he signed a long-term extension).

decleater
09-08-2009, 06:40 PM
This was a good cap friendly signing that keeps consistency alive along the OL. It all starts with the snap of the ball and is yet another example of our extremely efficient and competent FO at work.

steelblood
09-09-2009, 09:29 AM
While certainly not a bad move, I'm not exactly thrilled. Hartwig is 31 and average at best. I see the logic. It buys the Steelers some time. Hartwig can also play guard. The deal is relatively cap friendly. Still, I wish upgrading our offensive line looked like more of a priority.

Oh well, I know what positions I'll be watching as I look at college football....

DT/NT
OT
FS
RB

pfelix73
09-09-2009, 11:25 AM
This is super good news. Now we have 3 of the 5 OL signed long term. The longer these 5 play together the better they'll become. Now if we can just get Essex some experience playing with the other 4, we'll be set.

IF Stapleton/ Legursky/ Shipley end up pushing Hartwig for the starting spot in 2010 or 2011, they'll just do what they did to my buddy Kendall.

:tt1

NorthCoast
09-09-2009, 08:31 PM
The FO picked the low hanging fruit and got this deal done in time. Congrats to Hartwig for making it a team-friendly deal.

I suspect the FO knew a Clark deal would be improbable, given that Mr. Snyder will likely be backing his Brinks truck up to Clark's door next year to get him back.