PDA

View Full Version : Free-agent Steelers mull unsettled future



hawaiiansteel
02-01-2011, 04:42 PM
Free-agent Steelers mull unsettled future

By John Harris
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, February 1, 2011


FORT WORTH, Texas -- Cornerback Ike Taylor doesn't like contemplating his uncertain NFL future, but he realizes Super Bowl XLV could be his last game in a Steelers uniform.

"I don't want to leave Pittsburgh. It's been like home to me," said Taylor, a fourth-round draft pick in 2003 who has made 65 consecutive starts and never missed a game due to injury. "But I've definitely got to be smart about my decision, because this is a rare opportunity I have to be in this situation at this time."

While more high-profile free agent cornerbacks such as Nnamdi Asomugha and Champ Bailey missed the playoffs and were named to Sunday's Pro Bowl, Taylor is preparing for his third Super Bowl appearance since 2005. Taylor is attempting to join Steelers Hall of Famer Mel Blount and a select group of players to become the only cornerbacks to start and win three Super Bowls. Blount, of course, won four.

Taylor is one of several unrestricted free agents on the Steelers roster, but he's the only starter with the requisite six seasons to take his talents on the open market.

Other unrestricted free agents include nose tackle Chris Hoke, defensive end Nick Eason, running back Mewelde Moore, offensive lineman Trai Essex and linebacker Keyaron Fox.

Tackle Willie Colon, who missed the season on injured reserve, is a five-year veteran who will be a restricted free agent again in 2011 if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't in place after March 3.

Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, a second-round draft pick in 2007, has completed his original four-year contract. However, the Steelers can retain Woodley for another year because he's a restricted free agent.

"I would have liked to have gotten it done. I don't have control over that," Woodley said about not getting a new contract entering the final year of his deal, as the Steelers normally do with key starters. "If I'm going into this season worried about my contract, then I'm not focused on going to the Super Bowl and I'm not focused on this team."

The only way the Steelers can keep Taylor is to use the franchise or transition tag on him by early March, with hopes of signing him long term. Last year, the cornerback tag was $9.566 million, based on the average of the top five salaries at that position.

"Honestly, we have not had any discussion about next year," Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said Monday when asked about Taylor's impending free agency. "When you get this deep into the playoffs, you fall behind on a lot of things because everybody's focusing on the task at hand. I can't really say anything about potential free agency."

Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El and safety Chris Hope raised their free-agent value with strong performances in Super Bowl XL, signing with the Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans, respectively. However, Taylor's reputation as a lock-down corner who's also strong against the run is already established.

"It's definitely a unique situation," Taylor said. "I feel like I'll be rewarded regardless of where it is. Teams know what I can do. Since '05, I've been matched against the league's best receivers."

Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu and Taylor entered the league together. They were roommates as rookies and have been starters together the past six seasons.

"I can't imagine not playing together," Polamalu said last week. Asked how well the two have worked in tandem, Polamalu replied, "Well enough to make it to three Super Bowls."

Defensive coordinator D!ck LeBeau -- who still holds the NFL record of 171 consecutive games at cornerback -- praised Taylor during his Hall of Fame induction speech in August.

"It'd be hard for me to underestimate the contribution that Ike has made because he's always there," LeBeau said of Taylor, who has appeared in 92 consecutive games. "That's a great record of durability and dependability."

The Steelers aren't as deep at cornerback as they are at Woodley's outside linebacker spot, where they drafted two players among their top four selections and were confident enough to release fourth-round pick Thaddeus Gibson.

If Taylor isn't retained, William Gay, Keenan Lewis or Crezdon Butler would likely replace him.

"Given the opportunity, whenever I can make a play, that's what I try to do," Taylor said. "I think I've been doing a pretty darned good job."

Steelers takes

Coach Mike Tomlin, on last season's high-scoring game between the Steelers and Packers:

"I don't feel good about 37-36 personally. We were fortunate enough to get a win, but what happened in Heinz Field in '09 is going to have no bearing on what happens in this stadium. So many of the components of those teams are different."

Tomlin, on how taking the Steelers to two Super Bowls in four seasons has contrasted with his expectations when he took the job:

"It's probably about two Super Bowls too short of my vision."

Linebacker James Farrior, on how good the Packers' offense looks on turf:

"I'll go back to the days of probably St. Louis when it was the Greatest Show on Turf."

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, on the benefits of having played in two Super Bowls:

"It can be overwhelming. You get off the plane, and you've got helicopters, you've got police and media and then (a news conference). If you're not used to it, it can be overwhelming. I think it helps a little bit to at least have some prior knowledge and experience with it."

Roethlisberger, on Brett Keisel's beard:

"The beard has its own Twitter page. It's got a Myspace page. It's got a Facebook page. And it's got its own T-shirt. So, I mean, it's its own entity."

Keisel, on his beard:

"The beard is why we're here. It's unleashed Super Bowl powers on our whole team, and hopefully, it can win us one more."

Receiver Hines Ward, on the Steelers playing at the Dallas Cowboys' home stadium and possibly winning their seventh title there:

"It's kind of ironic. The two organizations that have had their wars over the years."

Read more: Free-agent Steelers mull unsettled future - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1Cjnjhnii (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_720733.html#ixzz1Cjnjhnii)

Oviedo
02-01-2011, 04:56 PM
Ike Taylor is a bigger priority than Woodley because we have NOBODY behind him.

Mentioning Lewis and Butler as possible replacements is a joke. Neither can even get a minute of playing time and they are candidates to replace our best CB. It's a joke to even suggest that.

We should be able to keep both Taylor and Woodley but it may mean shedding some veterans like Farrior and Smith.

hawaiiansteel
02-01-2011, 04:57 PM
We should be able to keep both Taylor and Woodley but it may mean shedding some veterans like Farrior and Smith.


ARE is getting paid $4 million this year, you can pretty much color him gone...

Oviedo
02-01-2011, 05:00 PM
We should be able to keep both Taylor and Woodley but it may mean shedding some veterans like Farrior and Smith.


ARE is getting paid $4 million this year, you can pretty much color him gone...

I'm all for that.

Crash
02-01-2011, 05:16 PM
MOST of ARE's contract is base salary. He was brought in this season to mend the locker room.

He won't be here after 2010, not at that price.

AngryAsian
02-01-2011, 07:46 PM
Ike Taylor is a bigger priority than Woodley because we have NOBODY behind him.

Mentioning Lewis and Butler as possible replacements is a joke. Neither can even get a minute of playing time and they are candidates to replace our best CB. It's a joke to even suggest that.

We should be able to keep both Taylor and Woodley but it may mean shedding some veterans like Farrior and Smith.


Farrior, I'm all for saying good bye to, but if we can squeeze one more healthy season from Smith coupled with the late season emergence of Hood, I think we can give ourselves another year of not looking to beef up our DL. Ike and Wood are the priority and drafting CB and OL.

Djfan
02-01-2011, 08:09 PM
Ike Taylor is a bigger priority than Woodley because we have NOBODY behind him.

Mentioning Lewis and Butler as possible replacements is a joke. Neither can even get a minute of playing time and they are candidates to replace our best CB. It's a joke to even suggest that.

We should be able to keep both Taylor and Woodley but it may mean shedding some veterans like Farrior and Smith.


Farrior, I'm all for saying good bye to, but if we can squeeze one more healthy season from Smith coupled with the late season emergence of Hood, I think we can give ourselves another year of not looking to beef up our DL. Ike and Wood are the priority and drafting CB and OL.


Farrior is a team leader. I say keep him over Smith. We haven't missed too much with Smith being gone this year.

Chadman
02-01-2011, 10:36 PM
Of course, if there's no football next year....

Chadman
02-01-2011, 10:37 PM
If there's no salaray cap, can't the Steelers just re-sign them all?

papillon
02-01-2011, 10:52 PM
As long as the free agents are willing to accept fair market value and do not have to be the highest paid at his position, the Steelers will work equitable deals for them. The Steelers sign high priced free agents, they just happen to be their own.

The Steelers have a way of putting the pressure on the player by offering fair value and long deals for security. If they want to stay and be a Steeler it will happen. If they want to be the highest paid at their position (until some other team signs a free agent) then they'll wear different laundry next year.

Pappy

Djfan
02-01-2011, 10:58 PM
As long as the free agents are willing to accept fair market value and do not have to be the highest paid at his position, the Steelers will work equitable deals for them. The Steelers sign high priced free agents, they just happen to be their own.

The Steelers have a way of putting the pressure on the player by offering fair value and long deals for security. If they want to stay and be a Steeler it will happen. If they want to be the highest paid at their position (until some other team signs a free agent) then they'll wear different laundry next year.

Pappy


I like this actually.

papillon
02-02-2011, 01:12 AM
As long as the free agents are willing to accept fair market value and do not have to be the highest paid at his position, the Steelers will work equitable deals for them. The Steelers sign high priced free agents, they just happen to be their own.

The Steelers have a way of putting the pressure on the player by offering fair value and long deals for security. If they want to stay and be a Steeler it will happen. If they want to be the highest paid at their position (until some other team signs a free agent) then they'll wear different laundry next year.

Pappy


I like this actually.

I also believe that the Steelers ask each player to take a look at the big picture of the team and explain what they are willing to commit to the player, but in return the player has to give a little as well. Meaning, if we make you the highest paid player at your position we have to sacrifice elsewhere and the team may suffer.

It's not like the Rooneys aren't fair with their offers, they just aren't the mind numbing numbers that some players get.

Pappy

Djfan
02-02-2011, 01:47 PM
As long as the free agents are willing to accept fair market value and do not have to be the highest paid at his position, the Steelers will work equitable deals for them. The Steelers sign high priced free agents, they just happen to be their own.

The Steelers have a way of putting the pressure on the player by offering fair value and long deals for security. If they want to stay and be a Steeler it will happen. If they want to be the highest paid at their position (until some other team signs a free agent) then they'll wear different laundry next year.

Pappy


I like this actually.

I also believe that the Steelers ask each player to take a look at the big picture of the team and explain what they are willing to commit to the player, but in return the player has to give a little as well. Meaning, if we make you the highest paid player at your position we have to sacrifice elsewhere and the team may suffer.

It's not like the Rooneys aren't fair with their offers, they just aren't the mind numbing numbers that some players get.

Pappy

Just look at where our plan has gotten us, and compare that to where other teams over-play plans have gotten them.

ikestops85
02-02-2011, 03:36 PM
While I do like Ike (see name) he does have his ups and downs as a corner. He was playing so bad in 2006 that Cowher benched him. He was downright terrible last year even though Gay caught the brunt of the criticism. He was very good in 2005 and lights out in 2008 and again this year. I think that makes it hard to put a price tag on him. I'm sure in his head he only thinks about the great years and management probably thinks more about the bad years. I think Ike is a good CB that occasionally reaches greatness.

hawaiiansteel
02-02-2011, 11:50 PM
will the Steelers end up using the franchise tag on LaMarr Woodley?


Franchise tags to be available February 10

Posted by Evan Silva on February 2, 2011, 9:41 PM EST

Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe reports that the league has informed all NFL teams that the franchise tag will be available this offseason, beginning February 10.

Teams were previously operating under this assumption. Confirmation came today.

Also according to Bedard, the Patriots will “likely” place the tag on impending free agent guard Logan Mankins, who has indicated that he does not anticipate a long-term extension offer.

The most players in league history are eligible for unrestricted free agency, meaning we may see the most franchise and/or transition tags in league history as well.

Obvious candidates to be franchised: Mankins, Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali, Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, Cowboys tackle Doug Free, Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice and linebacker Chad Greenway, Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams, Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins, Jets linebacker David Harris, and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, and Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... bruary-10/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/02/franchise-tags-to-be-available-february-10/)

papillon
02-02-2011, 11:53 PM
As long as the free agents are willing to accept fair market value and do not have to be the highest paid at his position, the Steelers will work equitable deals for them. The Steelers sign high priced free agents, they just happen to be their own.

The Steelers have a way of putting the pressure on the player by offering fair value and long deals for security. If they want to stay and be a Steeler it will happen. If they want to be the highest paid at their position (until some other team signs a free agent) then they'll wear different laundry next year.

Pappy


I like this actually.

You sound shocked. :moon :tt2

Pappy

hawaiiansteel
02-04-2011, 01:34 AM
Ike is the only good CB we have, the dropoff behind him is so significant that we have to find a way to re-sign him...


Cook: Steelers have Taylor-made shutdown cornerback

Thursday, February 03, 2011

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/201102/xxxx20110203steelers_500.jpg

Lake Fong/Post-Gazette
Steelers corner back Ike Taylor.


FORT WORTH, Texas -- Learned something new about Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor Wednesday. He's not the least bit superstitious. He showed up for his Super Bowl XVL media obligations wearing a Pirates cap. I had to ask him: "Isn't that risking bad karma right before the big game?"

"Superstitions aren't going to decide anything Sunday," Taylor said.

Good thing.

If the Steelers suddenly start playing like the Pirates, they'll get beat, 45-0, by the Green Bay Packers.

Not to be cynical.

Taylor has enough game -- and enough faith in his game -- to think nothing bad will happen to him. Other than the quarterbacks, he could play the biggest role on his sport's biggest stage. He's expected to cover Green Bay's top receiver -- Greg Jennings -- on a night the Packers are expected to turn quarterback Aaron Rodgers loose and let him throw the pig all over Cowboys Stadium out of four- or five-wide receiver sets.

That is quite a challenge for Taylor. "Jennings is a beast," he said. "He reminds me of [former Steelers receiver] Santonio Holmes. At the crucial times in the game, he's their guy." Jennings had eight catches for 130 yards against the Chicago Bears in the NFC championship game, eight catches for 101 yards against the Atlanta Falcons the week before. "He's been pretty much unstoppable in the postseason," Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons said.

Pretty much.

"I'm up for it," Taylor said. "I always get the other team's best receiver. I'm used to it. Look at my tape. Look at anyone else's tape. I'm just as good if not better than anyone you pick."

I'm in no mood to argue with Taylor this morning. I thought he had an awesome season. You wouldn't want to know where the Steelers would be without him. It wouldn't be in Texas, getting ready for another Super Bowl.

That's why, if you like the Steelers, you should be more than a little concerned that the team will lose Taylor after the season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

I believe the Steelers will try hard to do a new deal with Taylor, especially considering they have so little at cornerback behind him. Coach Mike Tomlin was asked to define the "Steeler Way" this week and said, "We believe in building through the draft ... Equally important, we believe in paying our own players -- those who are deserving ... " Taylor qualifies. Frankly, I'm surprised the team didn't reach out to him harder before this season.

For his part, Taylor said he "would love to retire as a Steeler." That sounds nice, but you know how it often goes when a player gets to free agency. Another team makes him an offer he can't refuse. "You only get one shot at this kind of money," Taylor conceded. "It's like hitting the lotto."

I have to admit here that I had a hard time not looking at that Pirates cap as Taylor talked. But I was able to concentrate enough to hear him make a strong case for himself.

"I'm one of three cornerbacks in the league who travel," Taylor said, referencing that he and the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie are the only corners to go from one side of the field to the other following a certain receiver.

"They always ask me to guard the best guy. A lot of corners don't want that responsibility ... I run, hit and tackle. A lot of corners ole their tackles. If you don't tackle in this defense, you don't play corner ... The only knock against me is I don't get the picks. I know that. But how do you define a shutdown corner? Isn't it keeping the guy from catching the football? I think I do that as well as anyone."

It's instructive that Taylor brought up the interceptions. They've been a sore subject with him for a long time. He had two this season, has 11 in 125 career regular-season games and three more in 14 postseason games. He easily could have 40 or even 50 if he didn't drop the ball so much.

"Defensive backs would be wide receivers if they could catch," a wise man named Terry Bradshaw once said.

Taylor appears to have come to grips -- pardon the poor pun -- with his bad hands. He's right about that shutdown corner business, you know? He's usually in good position against the NFL's top receivers. Interceptions would be nice, but it's more important to keep the other guy from catching the ball.

Right?

"Other than catching picks, I feel like I'm a lockdown cornerback for sure," Taylor said, nodding.

About this time, a Steelers staffer made Taylor exchange his cap for a Super Bowl-approved model. I don't think she's superstitious, either. But you can't blame her for not taking chances.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11034/1122598-66.stm

hawaiiansteel
02-04-2011, 02:46 PM
Steelers, Taylor open contract talks

By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, February 4, 2011

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2011-02-03/ike-a.jpg

Ike Taylor
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review


FORT WORTH, Texas — The Steelers, who have a policy of not negotiating contracts during the season, have opened discussions with cornerback Ike Taylor about a new deal that would allow him to finish his career in Pittsburgh.

Taylor, who could emerge as one of the top unrestricted free agents in the offseason, said his contract has been an ongoing topic of discussion and was addressed after the Steelers arrived in Texas this week for Super Bowl XLV.

"There have been conversations. I've talked with a few people in this organization about remaining here. They know I want to retire as a Steeler,'' Taylor said Thursday. "I've been telling them I want to be here since the beginning of the season. Now it's getting down to this point.''

Breaking from tradition, the Steelers decided not to wait until after the season to make Taylor their top offseason priority. The team is free to negotiate with Taylor and can use a franchise tag to retain his rights until 11:59 p.m. on March 3, when the current collective bargaining agreement ends.

If the Steelers sign Taylor to a long-term deal before the deadline, they won't have to use a franchise tag, which is the average of the top five players at that position. Last year, the franchise tag for cornerbacks was $9.566 million.

If Taylor, a starter since 2005, hits the market, the Steelers may not be able to afford him. Last year, Dunta Robinson signed a six-year, $57 million contract with Atlanta as an unrestricted free agent.

Read more: Steelers, Taylor open contract talks - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1D0svrcne (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_721276.html#ixzz1D0svrcne)

papillon
02-04-2011, 03:31 PM
Talking is good; now get something done that is good for both sides, then they can get to work on Woodley. Of course, his base is so low and there's that 35% increase rule, so Woodley may have to wait until the CBA expires and with it all the rules regarding increases, etc.

Get Ike signed! One at a time, one step at a time, the Steeler way.

Pappy

hawaiiansteel
02-05-2011, 03:25 PM
Woodley diary: Team out to prove naysayers wrong

By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Saturday, February 5, 2011


Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who will start his second Super Bowl on Sunday, shares his thoughts through today with Tribune-Review sports columnist John Harris:

My family made it here. They drove from Detroit to Pittsburgh to fly on a private plane at the Voyager Jet Center. It actually worked out fine because a lot of flights coming out of Detroit were getting delayed going to Dallas. My younger sister is coming (today). She had a basketball game. I have two brothers, two sisters. But only one of my brothers came down, and one of my sisters is coming. My mother and father are here. My daughter, Gabriel, and my fiance are here and My uncle and aunt. We went to the Dallas Galleria Mall for a few hours. It's a pretty big mall. My dad got lost. He wanted to go his own separate way. We found him before we left the mall.

The big thing at the beginning of the season was losing Ben (Roethlisberger) for four games, so no one believed that Pittsburgh was going to win. We had a chance to be 4-0, but we let that game against Baltimore get away from us. We lost to the Saints, we lost to New England, and we lost to the Jets. Going into the second Jets game, everybody thought the Jets were going to have our number because they beat us the first time. We went out there and killed them in the first quarter. And now we're underdogs once again.

I guess when a team has a pretty good offense they forget about the great defense we have. Everybody's talking about Ben versus Aaron Rodgers. Ben can't go up against Aaron Rodgers. It's Aaron Rodgers versus the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. It's Ben Roethlisberger versus the Green Bay Packers defense.

Then (rapper) Lil Wayne came out with a song called "Green and Yellow.'' That's when you know you're a powerhouse team. They want you to lose so bad, they make a song about you. That's when you know everybody is tired of the Pittsburgh Steelers being one of the top franchises in the NFL. Everybody wants to see you lose. Two years ago, they picked Arizona to win the Super Bowl because they had a high-powered offense. Once again, they forgot about our defense.

This year, we were the team that wasn't supposed to win their division. We proved them wrong. People are always going to doubt you. They're always going to try to find different things to bring the team down. They're always looking to pick you apart. But people were wrong. Everybody had New England winning the AFC Championship. We proved them wrong. Now, we're back in the big dance, and they're underestimating us again. We don't need motivation. Our motivation is already here to have an opportunity to win another Super Bowl. What more motivation do you need?

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1D6qu7VAI (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_721537.html#ixzz1D6qu7VAI)