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fordfixer
01-12-2010, 03:29 AM
Free agent frenzy: Who stays? Who goes?

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... -goes.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/january/12/free-agent-frenzy-who-stays-who-goes.html)

Tuesday January 12, 2010 12:03 AM

Because they finished 9-7 and failed to make the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers facean off-season of change. Exactly how much the roster changes will depend considerably on what they do with their potential free agents.

No less than 11 Steelers — including a few high-profile stars — can be unrestricted free agents when the NFL’s free agency period begins March 5. Seven others are unrestricted free agents.

Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any team with no compensation to the Steelers.

Restricted free agents are free to negotiate with any team. However, the Steelers have the right to match any offer. If the offer isn’t matched, the Steelers could receive compensation in the form of draft picks depending on the amount of the offer.

Coach Mike Tomlin and personnel director Kevin Colbert have already begun the process of deciding who the Steelers will try to sign and who they won’t.

Times NFL writer Mike Bires breaks down the list of free agents and who may or may not be back.

UNRESTRICTED (11)

CHARLIE BATCH, QB A Pittsburgh native, who does much for the community, is a capable reserve who can handle the offense in an emergency. But with Dennis Dixon entrenched as the back-up, the Steelers can’t afford to play Batch, who, as a 13-year vet, is entitled to a minimum salary of $860,000. Return: Unlikely.

ROCKY BOIMAN, LB The Steelers need bodies to play special teams. But after he was acquired in mid-season, Boiman didn’t do anything to suggest he’s anything but an average special teams player. Return: Highly unlikely.

TYRONE CARTER, S OK in a pinch for maybe an emergency start or two and not bad on special teams, he’ll be 34 next year and it’s time to give more playing time to younger players such as Ryan Mundy. Return: Unlikely.

RYAN CLARK, FS A hard-hitter who plays well in tandem with strong safety Troy Polamalu but with Polamalu missing so much of the season with injuries, Clark’s play declined significantly. Return: Fifty-fifty.

NICK EASON, DE The vet will be 30, which makes him the second-youngest player in the D-line rotation this season. While he did start five games, he wasn’t even in uniform for eight games. Return: Unlikely.

CASEY HAMPTON, NT As his fifth and latest Pro Bowl invite suggests, “Big Snack” is still one of the most dominant lineman in the league. There is a chance Hampton will hold out if the Steelers slap a franchise tag on him. Do they want that kind of potential distraction as they enter camp following the disappointing ’09 season? Return: Fifty-fifty.

TRAVIS KIRSCHKE, DE For a man his age — he’ll be 36 at the start of next season — Kirschke played fairly well in a back-up role. But he’d only take away playing time from Ziggy Hood and Sunny Harris, first- and seventh-round picks in the ’09 draft. Return: Unlikely.

WILLIE PARKER, RB Many teams have two quality backs on their roster, and as “Fast Willie” showed in the last two games, he’s still capable. But Parker wants to start, and that won’t happen here. He also wants starter’s money, and that won’t happen here either. Return: Questionable at best

JEFF REED, PK An excellent field goal kicker, especially at Heinz Field, one of the toughest places in the league for a kicker. But the Steelers don’t want to pay Reed the money he could fetch elsewhere. Plus, his off-the-field antics are growing old. Return: Fifty-fifty.

DESHEA TOWNSEND, CB He still covers receivers better than William Gay. But it’s tough for 35-year-old cornerbacks to survive in the NFL. Plus, the Steelers will probably be looking to take a corner early in this year’s draft, and they did draft two corners last year (Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett). Return: Questionable.

JOEY GALLOWAY, WR If Limas Sweed doesn’t get his act in order, the Steelers need someone to be their No. 4 wide receiver. But at 38, Galloway is just too old. Return: Highly improbable.

RESTRICTED (7)

PATRICK BAILEY, LB Was a neat story in 2008 when he was named the team’s Rookie of the Year as an undrafted free agent out of Duke, but for a guy who never plays defense, he’s just not that dynamic of a special teams player. Return: Questionable.

WILLIE COLON, OT Some say he may be better suited at guard. Regardless of where he plays in the future, Colon’s a hard-nosed brawler who’s the only offensive lineman to start every game the past three seasons. Twice he beat out Max Starks for the starting job at right tackle. Return: Highly probable.

CAREY DAVIS, FB The Steelers hardly use a fullback any more and rookie Frank “The Tank” Summers did beat out Davis in training camp. Return: Highly unlikely.

WILLIAM GAY, CB Became a starter because Bryant McFadden left via free agency (Arizona), but Gay had a miserable season and was replaced late in the season by Townsend. Return: Fifty-fifty.

DANIEL SEPULVEDA, P By no means outstanding, but never did he shank a punt. Bottom line: he’s reliable and should only get better in years to come. Return: Highly probable.

MATT SPAETH, TE Won the Mackey Award given to the best tight end in college, but doesn’t have much to show on his professional resume. This year, he only caught five passes for 25 yards. If re-signed, his roster spot may be challenged in training camp. Return: Fifty-fifty.

DARNELL STAPLETON, G A starter at right guard on the ’08 Super Bowl team due to Kendall Simmons’ injury, Stapleton missed the season with a knee injury. Stapleton has recovered nicely, but the Steelers drafted Kraig Urbik in the third round last year. And Ramon Foster, an undrafted free agent, caught the coaching staff’s attention for the way he played in four starts at left guard. Return: Questionable at best.

Oviedo
01-12-2010, 08:36 AM
Off that entire list, I'll keep it simple:

Must keep: Colon and Sepulveda

Would like to keep on our terms: Hampton (if we unfortunately stay with 3-4), Clark, Reed and (you'll hate this one) Gay. I'd give Gay one more chance to compete for the position. At a minimum we know he was a good nickle DB and special teams player. The reality is even if we draft a CB in Round 1 or 2, LeBeau won't let him play (see Troy as a rookie) so we need experience at CB.

All others can go bye bye.

frankthetank1
01-12-2010, 09:01 AM
Off that entire list, I'll keep it simple:

Must keep: Colon and Sepulveda

Would like to keep on our terms: Hampton (if we unfortunately stay with 3-4), Clark, Reed and (you'll hate this one) Gay. I'd give Gay one more chance to compete for the position. At a minimum we know he was a good nickle DB and special teams player. The reality is even if we draft a CB in Round 1 or 2, LeBeau won't let him play (see Troy as a rookie) so we need experience at CB.

All others can go bye bye.

no way gay starts next year. burnett and lewis will be in their 2nd year. i would rather see either of them start over gay. why not re-sign eason? he is a good back up and we all know how important depth is on the d-line. i also think they can bring clark back on the cheap. i would like to see another FS either drafted or picked up through FA. let clark and the other FS fight it out for the starting spot. clark would be an excellent back up

steelblood
01-12-2010, 09:13 AM
Off that entire list, I'll keep it simple:

Must keep: Colon and Sepulveda

Would like to keep on our terms: Hampton (if we unfortunately stay with 3-4), Clark, Reed and (you'll hate this one) Gay. I'd give Gay one more chance to compete for the position. At a minimum we know he was a good nickle DB and special teams player. The reality is even if we draft a CB in Round 1 or 2, LeBeau won't let him play (see Troy as a rookie) so we need experience at CB.

All others can go bye bye.

I agree on Colon. For a little over 2 mil, he can be retained. That is a good deal for Willie. (Unless they negotiate a new CBA before the end of the season-which would make him a UFA)

I like Sepulveda. He is a good teammate, holder, tackler, and is good at pinning the opponent inside the 20. The only thing he struggles with is consistent distance. But, that is a big deal for a punter. We need to be reasonable with his contract. His distance on his punts is average at best. He hit some stinkers down the stretch.

stlrz d
01-12-2010, 09:48 AM
I just hope we stock up (via draft and FA) on as many 3-4 players as we can!

See steelblood, you're not the only one feeling like a smart ass this morning! Stupid bleacher report....

papillon
01-12-2010, 09:53 AM
I just hope we stock up (via draft and FA) on as many 3-4 players as we can!

See steelblood, you're not the only one feeling like a smart bad word this morning! Stupid bleacher report....

Advocating the 3-4 I hope you're ready for the wrath of Oviedo! :stirpot

Pappy

stlrz d
01-12-2010, 09:58 AM
I just hope we stock up (via draft and FA) on as many 3-4 players as we can!

See steelblood, you're not the only one feeling like a smart bad word this morning! Stupid bleacher report....

Advocating the 3-4 I hope you're ready for the wrath of Oviedo! :stirpot

Pappy

It was his post in this thread that inspired me.

Chadman
01-12-2010, 10:05 AM
Surely an uncapped year means that paying 'too much' becomes a redundant thought?

Re-sign Hampton, Eason, Sepulveda, Gay, Batch, Stapleton, Colon, Reed & Clark. It's the Steeler way to build through the draft. Letting the amount of players go that this guy suggests is highly unlikely. And as much as we obviously love over reactions here, this team isn't far away. Let guys go that are obviously holding back the development of younger players (Townsend, Kirschke, Carter, Galloway) & remove guys that are failing to contribute in the manner required (Boiman, Bailey, Davis, Speath, Parker). Sign one, maybe 2 FA's then draft your rookies. Go to camp & let 'em earn the right to be on the roster.

If the Steelers are staying 3-4 (obviously- but had to say it for Big O) then Hampton simply cannot be allowed to leave. Despite everyone being convinced that the Steelers will overpay for him- you gotta remember that he is still the elite 3-4 NT in the NFL, on a team that annually gets ranked top 5 in run defense, playing the one position that the Steelers have zero young depth, and the only back-up is older & smaller than Casey. 3-4 NT's can play for a long time (Sam Adams, Ted Washington etc) & 'conditioning' for these guys is optional (again- adams & Washington). So this fear that Casey is going to be out of shape, and therefore not play well, is pretty deluded.

PAY THE MAN!

papillon
01-12-2010, 10:18 AM
CHARLIE BATCH, QB A Pittsburgh native, who does much for the community, is a capable reserve who can handle the offense in an emergency. But with Dennis Dixon entrenched as the back-up, the Steelers can’t afford to play Batch, who, as a 13-year vet, is entitled to a minimum salary of $860,000. Return: Unlikely.

Bye, spending 860K for the emergency QB is a waste of money. Maybe, he'll stick around as a coach if he thinks his playing days are over. That would be ideal.

ROCKY BOIMAN, LB The Steelers need bodies to play special teams. But after he was acquired in mid-season, Boiman didn’t do anything to suggest he’s anything but an average special teams player. Return: Highly unlikely.

We don't need average on special teams, bye

TYRONE CARTER, S OK in a pinch for maybe an emergency start or two and not bad on special teams, he’ll be 34 next year and it’s time to give more playing time to younger players such as Ryan Mundy. Return: Unlikely.

I love Tyrone Carter, his work ethic and the effort he puts into playing safety for the Steelers, but his speed and skills are such that keeping him is probably wasting a roster spot. I wish him well, he is and was a good Steeler.

RYAN CLARK, FS A hard-hitter who plays well in tandem with strong safety Troy Polamalu but with Polamalu missing so much of the season with injuries, Clark’s play declined significantly. Return: Fifty-fifty.

Only on the cheap at this point. He wasn't capable of holding down the secondary without Troy. Begin to groom some younger players and draft one early in the draft.

NICK EASON, DE The vet will be 30, which makes him the second-youngest player in the D-line rotation this season. While he did start five games, he wasn’t even in uniform for eight games. Return: Unlikely.

Eason should stay, he played well down the stretch and will be an excellent backup for another couple years provided the salary can be worked out.

CASEY HAMPTON, NT As his fifth and latest Pro Bowl invite suggests, “Big Snack” is still one of the most dominant lineman in the league. There is a chance Hampton will hold out if the Steelers slap a franchise tag on him. Do they want that kind of potential distraction as they enter camp following the disappointing ’09 season? Return: Fifty-fifty.

Tag him, he can hold out and as a matter of fact, I'd just tell him to show up in Pittsburgh after they break camp in Latrobe. The tag will only raise his salary about 500K.

TRAVIS KIRSCHKE, DE For a man his age — he’ll be 36 at the start of next season — Kirschke played fairly well in a back-up role. But he’d only take away playing time from Ziggy Hood and Sunny Harris, first- and seventh-round picks in the ’09 draft. Return: Unlikely.

Another great Steeler, but age will work against him and that nasty minimum salary for vets. He'll be released I'm sure or retire. The minimum salary for vets is causing some vets to lose a few years of work at really good salaries, because, no one will pay 860K, but I bet the Steelers would keep him for 350K - 400K. That's d@mn good money, but he won't see it.

WILLIE PARKER, RB Many teams have two quality backs on their roster, and as “Fast Willie” showed in the last two games, he’s still capable. But Parker wants to start, and that won’t happen here. He also wants starter’s money, and that won’t happen here either. Return: Questionable at best

Hopefully, Parker sees the writing on the wall and will be reasonable in his salary demands and he remains a Steeler. He played really well down the stretch when healthy and in a limited role. I'd love to have him around for few more years at a cap friendly deal. The ball is in his court.

JEFF REED, PK An excellent field goal kicker, especially at Heinz Field, one of the toughest places in the league for a kicker. But the Steelers don’t want to pay Reed the money he could fetch elsewhere. Plus, his off-the-field antics are growing old. Return: Fifty-fifty.

Keep him, jettison a player that contributed very little and sign a kicker for kickoff duties, similar to the Cowboys. That guy is a weapon; the opponents average starting position after a TD or FG is something like the 21 yard line, because, kicks so many touch backs. This improves our special teams without doing anything because, you don't have to tackle a guy that downs the ball.

DESHEA TOWNSEND, CB He still covers receivers better than William Gay. But it’s tough for 35-year-old cornerbacks to survive in the NFL. Plus, the Steelers will probably be looking to take a corner early in this year’s draft, and they did draft two corners last year (Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett). Return: Questionable.

Keep him, even at 860K he may be able to play some FS.

JOEY GALLOWAY, WR If Limas Sweed doesn’t get his act in order, the Steelers need someone to be their No. 4 wide receiver. But at 38, Galloway is just too old. Return: Highly improbable.

Release him and if he's out there bring him into to camp to compete.

RESTRICTED (7)

PATRICK BAILEY, LB Was a neat story in 2008 when he was named the team’s Rookie of the Year as an undrafted free agent out of Duke, but for a guy who never plays defense, he’s just not that dynamic of a special teams player. Return: Questionable.

No need, any one that was on this team exclusively for special teams coverage should be shown the door just like their coach.

WILLIE COLON, OT Some say he may be better suited at guard. Regardless of where he plays in the future, Colon’s a hard-nosed brawler who’s the only offensive lineman to start every game the past three seasons. Twice he beat out Max Starks for the starting job at right tackle. Return: Highly probable.

Work out a long term deal with Willie.

CAREY DAVIS, FB The Steelers hardly use a fullback any more and rookie Frank “The Tank” Summers did beat out Davis in training camp. Return: Highly unlikely.

No thanks, but, they do need to find that fullback, since we know that Tomlin has told Arians his job depends on the offense's performance in the red zone and short yardage situations. :P

WILLIAM GAY, CB Became a starter because Bryant McFadden left via free agency (Arizona), but Gay had a miserable season and was replaced late in the season by Townsend. Return: Fifty-fifty.

Keep as a nickel/dime back like 2008; he was fine in that role.

DANIEL SEPULVEDA, P By no means outstanding, but never did he shank a punt. Bottom line: he’s reliable and should only get better in years to come. Return: Highly probable.

He'll continue to improve. He was the least of the Steeler problems.

MATT SPAETH, TE Won the Mackey Award given to the best tight end in college, but doesn’t have much to show on his professional resume. This year, he only caught five passes for 25 yards. If re-signed, his roster spot may be challenged in training camp. Return: Fifty-fifty.

I'd like to keep him, but the fact that he rarely saw the field tells me he isn't worth keeping around. Reed will have to find someone else to protect him when he's peeing in the street.

DARNELL STAPLETON, G A starter at right guard on the ’08 Super Bowl team due to Kendall Simmons’ injury, Stapleton missed the season with a knee injury. Stapleton has recovered nicely, but the Steelers drafted Kraig Urbik in the third round last year. And Ramon Foster, an undrafted free agent, caught the coaching staff’s attention for the way he played in four starts at left guard. Return: Questionable at best.

He'll be back to compete for his job. He may not make it out of camp, but I think he'll be given a chance to make the team. His contract will be minimal after sitting out a year with an injury. His signing bonus should be minimal as well.

Pappy

Oviedo
01-12-2010, 11:47 AM
I just hope we stock up (via draft and FA) on as many 3-4 players as we can!

See steelblood, you're not the only one feeling like a smart bad word this morning! Stupid bleacher report....

Advocating the 3-4 I hope you're ready for the wrath of Oviedo! :stirpot

Pappy

He's just advocating a trip down the road to nowhere.

I'm totally OK if we can win more Super Bowls by never playing young players until they serve a one to two year redshirt because the defense is so complex they can't learn it, but maybe they have and this past season was just us outsmarting ourselves :stirpot It's a very collegiate approach and guarantees long time fan favorites get to stay well beyond their "sell by" dates. No need to invest in new jerseys that way :wink:

To set the record on another response, I never advocated gay as a starter simply that he be given a chance to compete. It is clear that even drafting the best CB in the draft he will have to serve his mandatory redshirt season so we need people to compete for the job. Burnett is a viable candoidate. I really think Lewis gets a look at as a safety since Mundy may not be able to grasp the complexities of the defensive scheme as indicated by his inability to replace a star like Tyrone Carter.

papillon
01-12-2010, 11:51 AM
I just hope we stock up (via draft and FA) on as many 3-4 players as we can!

See steelblood, you're not the only one feeling like a smart bad word this morning! Stupid bleacher report....

Advocating the 3-4 I hope you're ready for the wrath of Oviedo! :stirpot

Pappy

He's just advocating a trip down the road to nowhere.

I'm totally OK if we can win more Super Bowls by never playing young players until they serve a one to two year reshirt. It's a very collegiate approach and guarantees long time fan favorites get to stay well beyond their "sell by" dates. No need to invest in new jerseys that way :wink:

To set the record on another response, I never advocated gay as a starter simply that he be given a chance to compete. It is clear that even drafting the best CB in the draft he will have to serve his mandatory redshirt season so we need people to compete for the job. Burnett is a viable candoidate. I really think Lewis gets a look at as a safety since Mundy may not be able to grasp the complexities of the defensive scheme as indicated by his inability to replace a star like Tyrone Carter.

I don't believe there is a redshirt approach to playing for D1ck Lebeau. The veterans were simply the better players and until a young player can unseat a veteran the veteran will continue to play. Obviously, this year, I think that Lewis or Burnett should have been splitting time with Gay by mid-season. On the job training is sometimes the best training.

Pappy

Oviedo
01-12-2010, 11:59 AM
I saw that Leigh Bodden will be a Free Agent if the Pats do not resign him. He is only about 28 years old. Would you sign him versus keeping Gay?

papillon
01-12-2010, 12:16 PM
I saw that Leigh Bodden will be a Free Agent if the Pats do not resign him. He is only about 28 years old. Would you sign him versus keeping Gay?

Right now after this past season, I'd take the #1 rated cornerback in high school.

Pappy

BradshawsHairdresser
01-12-2010, 01:05 PM
I saw that Leigh Bodden will be a Free Agent if the Pats do not resign him. He is only about 28 years old. Would you sign him versus keeping Gay?

I'd take Bodden if he could come for reasonable $$. Gay would be OK for nickle and dime packages, and for depth. I just don't want him as a starter.

RuthlessBurgher
01-12-2010, 01:35 PM
Here are the RFA values from last season (they may go up slightly this year, but not by much.


The player's original team maintains the First Refusal Right if the team tenders a contract offer of one year at $1.01 M. The player's original team maintains the Right of First Refusal and Draft Selection at the Player’s Original Draft Round (from the team with which he signs) if the team tenders an offer of one year at the same amount(s) listed above OR at least 110% of the player’s prior year’s salary -- whichever is greater.

The player's original team maintains the Right of First Refusal and Second Round Draft Selection (from the team with which he signs) if the team tenders an offer of one year at $$1.545 million OR at least 110% of the player’s prior year’s salary -- whichever is greater.

The player's original team maintains the Right of First Refusal and First Round Draft Selection (from the team with which he signs) if the team tenders an offer of one year at $2.198 million OR at least 110% of the player’s prior year’s salary -- whichever is greater.

The player's original team maintains the Right of First Refusal and First Round Draft Selection and Third Round Draft Selection (both from the team with which he signs) if the team tenders an offer of one year at $2.792 million OR at least 110% of the player's prior year’s salary -- whichever is greater.

I think that you give the $1,010,000 RFA tenders to Spaeth (3rd round compensation), Sepulveda (4th round compensation), Gay (5th round compensation), and Stapleton (no draft compensation since he came in as a UDFA). Let's Bailey and Davis go without an RFA tender. I toyed with the idea of the $1,545,000 tender for Sepulveda (2nd round compensation), but I think that the 4th rounder a team would need to spend to sign him would be sufficient deterrant.

Colon got the $2,198,000 RFA tender last year (1st round compensation), so this year he would have to get 110% of that ($2,417,800). Give him that tender then try to work out a long term deal.

Franchise Hampton for $7,023,000 and give the transition tag to Reed for $2,656,000.

See if you can work out reasonable deals for Clark and Eason and Parker. Everyone else walks.

Oviedo
01-12-2010, 01:42 PM
Here are the RFA values from last season (they may go up slightly this year, but not by much.


The player's original team maintains the First Refusal Right if the team tenders a contract offer of one year at $1.01 M. The player's original team maintains the Right of First Refusal and Draft Selection at the Player’s Original Draft Round (from the team with which he signs) if the team tenders an offer of one year at the same amount(s) listed above OR at least 110% of the player’s prior year’s salary -- whichever is greater.

The player's original team maintains the Right of First Refusal and Second Round Draft Selection (from the team with which he signs) if the team tenders an offer of one year at $$1.545 million OR at least 110% of the player’s prior year’s salary -- whichever is greater.

The player's original team maintains the Right of First Refusal and First Round Draft Selection (from the team with which he signs) if the team tenders an offer of one year at $2.198 million OR at least 110% of the player’s prior year’s salary -- whichever is greater.

The player's original team maintains the Right of First Refusal and First Round Draft Selection and Third Round Draft Selection (both from the team with which he signs) if the team tenders an offer of one year at $2.792 million OR at least 110% of the player's prior year’s salary -- whichever is greater.

I think that you give the $1,010,000 RFA tenders to Spaeth (3rd round compensation), Sepulveda (4th round compensation), Gay (5th round compensation), and Stapleton (no draft compensation since he came in as a UDFA). Let's Bailey and Davis go without an RFA tender. I toyed with the idea of the $1,545,000 tender for Sepulveda (2nd round compensation), but I think that the 4th rounder a team would need to spend to sign him would be sufficient deterrant.

Colon got the $2,198,000 RFA tender last year (1st round compensation), so this year he would have to get 110% of that ($2,417,800). Give him that tender then try to work out a long term deal.

Franchise Hampton for $7,023,000 and give the transition tag to Reed for $2,656,000.

See if you can work out reasonable deals for Clark and Eason and Parker. Everyone else walks.

I would actually give Sepulveda the $1,545,000 tender and work out a long term deal. he should be easy but I wouldn't want to even risk going back to the punt fiasco of 2008 when Sep was hurt.