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02-11-2011, 07:18 PM
Looking at the Steelers’ offseason priorities

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on February 11, 2011

Sure, free agency may not be until August. Like NFL teams, however, we need to be prepared for every scenario. Each team’s free agent priorities won’t change in the meantime.

Today, the AFC Champion Steelers get the treatment as we primarily look at expected unrestricted free agents.

The big one: Lamarr Woodley.

Woodley was Pittsburgh’s best defensive player in the playoffs. He’s a huge part of their future and Pittsburgh will likely use the franchise tag to keep him before working on a long-term deal. James Harrison has set the bar high for linebacker contracts.

The key ingredients: Right tackle Willie Colon and cornerback Ike Taylor.

The Steelers have three players arguably worthy of the franchise tag. Colon’s free agent value may be down after missing 2010, but he was arguably Pittsburgh’s best lineman before he got hurt. They are too thin at tackle to let him go.

Taylor is the best cornerback on the team. He’s the type of good, not great player with a lot of big game experience that could strike it rich on the open market. He may prove tough to keep.

The tackle problem

Colon is a free agent. So is backup left tackle Jonathan Scott, who started in the Super Bowl. 16-game starter Flozell Adams is due $5 million next year, which is more than he’s worth. Backup guard Trai Essex, who was drafted as a tackle, is also a free agent.

Role players: Running back Mewelde Moore, center/guard Doug Legursky, linebacker Keyaron Fox, cornerback William Gay, defensive linemen Chris Hoke and Nick Eason.

The Steelers still need a backup running back/third-down specialist, so Moore could be return. Legursky made himself some money against the Packers. Fox is good for crushing special teams penalties in the Super Bowl. Gay never quite developed and could be gone.

Specialists: Punter Daniel Sepulveda and kicker Shaun Suisham

The Steelers have to be the only team with their starting punter and kicker unsigned. Suisham may not be back after his Super Bowl hook and Sepulveda is coming off a torn ACL.

Long term thinking

Troy Polamalu’s contract ends after the 2011 season. He’s next in line after Woodley for a big extension.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... riorities/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/11/breaking-down-steelers-offseason-priorities/)

02-11-2011, 08:51 PM
Legrusky made himself some money against the Packers? Florio must have watched a different game then I did. Your center has to be able to run block and Legs isnt that good at it, especially pulling. He's a good back up but thats all I would want him for.......

02-11-2011, 10:28 PM
He won't pull from center. Not many do.

I think he made money also. He's intelligent as well.

02-11-2011, 10:37 PM
He won't pull from center. Not many do.

I think he made money also. He's intelligent as well.

He pulled on the Mendy fumble and a few other plays that looked horrible

02-12-2011, 02:28 AM
I think that he made money in that he went from obscure nobody to someone whose name everyone knows now. He was not great but not bad considering his first NFL start was the SB.

He mentions Troy next year but I think that our greater concern is a guy who is 5 years younger - Lawrence Timmons. I would hate to lose either, but if told that I could only keep one after the 2011 season it would have to be Timmons.

02-12-2011, 09:10 AM
The autor has some good points, but I don't truely agree with everything he says.

The big one: Lamarr Woodley

The biggest question faceing Lamarr's future is the status of contracts and value of the LB crew. With Timmons contract comming up next year, and all ready having the big investment in Harrison there maybe too much money invested in the LB position.

As much as I like Lamarr, I think he is expendable. Could Timmons slide over and fill his roll, Foote/Fox can take Timmons ILB. In the mean time Worilds/Sylvester looked promising future stars. Draft this year as always a few LB.

Don't get me wrong I would love to keep him as a young player he adds value to our aging LB core, how many years can Farrior, Foote, Harrison play?

The key ingredients: Right tackle Willie Colon and cornerback Ike Taylor.

I think the author has it all wrong the BIG ONE is Ike. He has to be signed no doubts about it. He is the protypical Steeler 3-4 CB, he can support the run and cover the best WR. Add in he is durable, I don't think he missed a game in 3 years. In addtion, if we loose him we are screwed imagine b-mac and gay as our starters.

As for Colon, I would not sign him. He is done. Even if he comes back he would not be the same player. At one point he was a rising star, but please don't allow the "K. Simmons effect" hit this team again. Two years later, and we are still trying to find a replacement at LG. Take the loss and move on. Invest that money elsewhere in the FA market. Either at G/OT/CB/S. Only reason to sign him is if dirt cheap.

The tackle problem

This could be labled the OL problem all together. I would resign J.Scott again. He is not the best even sometimes not really good, but he gets the job done. He is worth keeping around and with his history with Kulgar he should be able to sign on at a decent price.

Keep Flo he played great for us, even though he is old as dirt, he played every game. How can the author say he is not worth the 5 million. There are definetly other overpriced placers out there.

We started and played with these 2 as our tackles and made the big dance, why can't we do it again with these two. Add in Starks, I think our OT are decent shape, but need future developement.

As for Essex, we know what we have in him, a reliable 5 positon player. Depends on the price. But could the big L take over his role chaeper?


Role players: Running back Mewelde Moore, center/guard Doug Legursky, linebacker Keyaron Fox, cornerback William Gay, defensive linemen Chris Hoke and Nick Eason.

Mewelde Moore, good player to have, but at what price. Depends on Dweyers progress on this team, and any other FA 2nd tier RBs out there.

Fox, he took alot of blame for his stupid penalty in the SB, but he has potential and fills in when his number is called. But with that play he might of cost him self a postion on the team and the number game with younger Sylvester waiting to take over his role. He is gone.

Doug Legursky, can he play center? No honestly the question is can he start at LG?
I think worth keeping, a younger cheaper Essex.

Gay, in my view is the same player as B-mac. Both are inconsistant, but do have the occasioanl splash play. Worth signing on as rotaion/back up player. He should be able to signed at resonable price.

Hoke and Eason.... it is a numbers game. Who stays who goes? With Ziggy and Kiesel break out years I think Eason is gone. With Smith taking over the back up role. Or is Ziggy able to play the back up NT? and Eason stays. It depends on the price, but I would love to retain both of them, more Hoke than Eason.

What we need to accomplish this year going into 2011 seaon.

1. Quality CB to compliment Ike.
2. Find a OG.
3. Draft for future LB,TE, OT,NT, S, RB

02-12-2011, 12:38 PM
Troy is a great player. I am just concerned about giving a big contract to him if he can't stay healthy.

02-12-2011, 01:20 PM
Troy is a great player. I am just concerned about giving a big contract to him if he can't stay healthy.

Agreed, I can't see giving him a huge contract with the injuries he's had over the past few years.

02-12-2011, 02:10 PM
Could give Troy a fair deal with a back load on incentives. Seems fair for both sides. Might help in keeping Timmons as well. The team has a bit of leverage here.

02-12-2011, 02:12 PM
What's next for the Steelers?

FEB 12
By James Walker


Pittsburgh will need to improve its secondary and offensive line if it wants another shot at the title.

As the confetti fell at the conclusion of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium, a look of despair and disappointment immediately came over the faces of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The newly crowned Green Bay Packers were in full celebration mode, while Pittsburgh felt the sting of falling short of its seventh championship.

History weighs heavily against the Steelers -- seven of the past 10 Super Bowl runners-up have failed to make the playoffs the next year.

How do the Steelers avoid becoming another statistic? It will take some smart moves and solid upgrades in the offseason.

"Our goal is to try to get into [the Super Bowl] again, and just don't be on this side again," Steelers receiver Mike Wallace said. "Just get back in the lab and work harder. That's all."

Here is a preview of what's next for the Steelers:

Where are Pittsburgh’s biggest needs?


Aaron Rodgers took advantage of Pittsburgh's secondary -- completing 24-of-39 for 304 yards and a 111.5 passer rating.

Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, the Steelers are in better shape than most teams. But they are by no means perfect.

Three losses this season -- to the Packers, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints -- have provided a blueprint of how to beat the Steelers. It takes a top-flight quarterback and a precise, short and intermediate passing game to put enough points on the board against Pittsburgh's vaunted No. 2 ranked defense.

Forcing the Steelers' offense to play from behind makes the team one-dimensional and susceptible to the pass rush. Pittsburgh's offensive line is one of the weakest areas of the team. Those three losses to Green Bay, New England and New Orleans all played out in similar fashion.

To counter these tough matchups, the Steelers need to improve their roster in several areas.

Pittsburgh's two biggest needs are at cornerback and offensive line. Upgrades to both positions would help the Steelers combat opponents like New England and Green Bay. The Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (304 yards, three touchdowns) beat Pittsburgh's defense by running a lot of three- and four-receiver sets, which exposed the Steelers' lack of depth in the secondary.

Pittsburgh starting cornerback Ike Taylor is solid, but he will be an unrestricted free agent (we will get to that later). After Taylor there is a dropoff to Bryant McFadden and backups William Gay and Anthony Madison. High-powered passing offenses will continue to give Pittsburgh fits unless it addresses this issue. I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers draft a cornerback in the first two rounds.

The Steelers need to improve at guard and tackle on the offensive line. Starting left tackle Max Starks is solid and returning from a season-ending neck injury. He will replace the inconsistent Jonathan Scott. Right tackle Flozell Adams, 35, is under contract for one more year with Pittsburgh and is uncertain about his future. Guard Chris Kemoeatu and center Maurkice Pouncey are set, but the Steelers could use another starting-caliber guard.

The Steelers traditionally are not big players in free agency, so don't expect a lot of turnover. Most of their needs will be addressed in April's NFL draft.

"I think we still have a core group of players that we can build around and hopefully make another run at it," Steelers president Art Rooney II said after the Super Bowl loss. "I don't think we'll be sitting there saying we're going to make a lot of changes. We'll prepare for the draft and add some players here and there, and be ready to go."

Who are the Steelers' key free agents?


Retaining LaMarr Woodley is one of Pittsburgh's top priorities.

Where Pittsburgh does spend its money is retaining its key free agents. The Steelers have two big ones this year in Taylor and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

Pittsburgh has every intention of retaining Woodley, who was one of the NFL's best bargains after making just $550,000 in the final year of his rookie contract. Including playoffs, Woodley recorded 60 tackles, 13 sacks, two interceptions and got stronger as the season went on.

The Steelers are expected to use their franchise tag on Woodley, 26, while trying to negotiate a long-term deal. The deadline to tag Woodley is Feb. 24. But it will be challenging for Pittsburgh to work out a large extension until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. Under the current CBA, the 30-percent rule is a major holdup in working out an extension with Woodley, who is a former second-round pick.

Taylor's situation is more fluid. The unrestricted free agent will be 31 in May and has spent his entire career with Pittsburgh. Returning will be Taylor's first preference, but he will certainly garner interest from other teams. Pittsburgh has to determine what is the right price to try to keep its No. 1 cornerback.

Other free agents of note for Pittsburgh include backup quarterback Dennis Dixon, tailback Mewelde Moore, kicker Shaun Suisham and offensive linemen Willie Colon and Trai Essex.

Can Pittsburgh remain a contender?

As we mentioned earlier, history is not kind to Super Bowl runners-up. Pittsburgh also will have to overcome its own negative history. The last two times the current Steelers made the Super Bowl -- both victories -- they missed the playoffs in the following seasons, 2006 and 2009.

The Steelers are usually at their best as underdogs. That was the case this season; most experts wrote off Pittsburgh because of franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's four-game suspension at the beginning of the season. But the Steelers showed they could overcome setbacks and made it to Super Bowl XLV.

Expectations will be high for Pittsburgh next season, because a lot of talent and veteran leadership remain. But is it enough to get to Super Bowl XVLI in Indianapolis?

"I love this group; I think it is a heck of a group," said Steelers linebacker and captain James Farrior. "There is a lot more football left in us. We just have to stay together. Hopefully, everything works out in the offseason and we get back here next season."

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_ ... e-steelers (http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/24598/whats-next-for-the-steelers)

Dee Dub
02-12-2011, 03:26 PM
I think they missed the biggest offseason priority. For the their QB not to get into trouble. That would be one of the best things for this team.

Personally I think...


..would be a major improvement and it would be a better than average O-line as a group.

02-12-2011, 06:17 PM
I think they missed the biggest offseason priority. For the their QB not to get into trouble. That would be one of the best things for this team.

Personally I think...


..would be a major improvement and it would be a better than average O-line as a group.

A quiet off-season would be nice...

I think our OL played at a NFL level in the second half of the season. You don't think Hotel has another year in the tank?

02-12-2011, 06:25 PM
Personally I think...


I like:

Starks/Kemo or Foster/Pouncey/Pouncey/Flozell

02-12-2011, 06:27 PM
Starks/Mar. Pouncey/Legursky/Mi. Pouncey/Adams

Dee Dub
02-12-2011, 10:16 PM
I dont understand why some havent been able to see the progress of Jonathan Scott. Down the stretch and throughout the playoffs he progressed rather nicely. And we are talking about a guy who hasnt had the luxury of being in the Steelers system all that long as well as the continuity of being around the same O-line for more than just a stretch. I think moving him to RT will make him even better. And yes I would prefer him over the aging, $5 milllion next year, Flozell Adams who seemded to get hurt an awful lot this past season.

02-13-2011, 07:47 AM
I dont understand why some havent been able to see the progress of Jonathan Scott. Down the stretch and throughout the playoffs he progressed rather nicely. And we are talking about a guy who hasnt had the luxury of being in the Steelers system all that long as well as the continuity of being around the same O-line for more than just a stretch. I think moving him to RT will make him even better. And yes I would prefer him over the aging, $5 milllion next year, Flozell Adams who seemded to get hurt an awful lot this past season.

I agree, I want the FO to keep keep both J.Scott and Flo for atleast another year.

I remeber last march, when Scott signed on as a FA, some on here were saying that he might be the surprise FA who makes a difference, while others saing he is just average. The truth is he is just average, has his ups and downs, but he does fit in well with Kulgar's system.

Flo was a life savor this year, it did seem as if he did get injured every second snap, but he was the only OL to play every game. He is worth keeping, even if is salary is too steep, with the questions of Starks and Colon ( I hope, I am wrong but I think time to cut ties with him, he will be just like K simmons) coming in.

Just wondering folks, what is Kemo's trade value? A second round draft pick? Coukld we use him as trade bait to move up and grab Mike?


It is unlikely, this year is the defenses turn to gets the first round pick.

02-14-2011, 01:18 AM
Steelers report: Inside slant

The Sports Xchange
Feb. 13, 2011

Strategy and personnel · Notes, quotes · Inside slant

Don't expect the Steelers to do much between now and March 3. In fact, they may do nothing other than get ready for the draft.

They have three starters who can become free agents in cornerback Ike Taylor, linebacker LaMarr Woodley and injured tackle Willie Colon. No one should be surprised if they sign none of them until a new CBA comes into place.

"We haven't talked about anything," director of football operations Kevin Colbert said regarding free agents last week. "There's nothing, really. All we're really worried about is that ... I have to keep draft preparations because I know that's going to happen."

The Steelers came close to winning their second Super Bowl in three years so no drastic changes are necessary. If and when free agency begins, they will make hardly a ripple in the talent pool available. The draft is again key to their success, which they always look at as long term and not shooting for the moon in any one year.

"We never try to attack this thing for any one given year," Colbert said. "The goal of the organization is to have a chance to compete every year. We (had) a chance this year. Beyond that we'll try to retool it and see where it stands --this team, this playoff run and then draft preparation. Where that will lead I don't know."

They must deal with those free agents and, if they lose them, go about replacing them. They also will continue to look at the age of some players, especially those on defense, where three of their top four linemen are well into their 30s and linebacker James Farrior is 36.

They will add a cornerback or two in the draft, no matter what happens to Ike Taylor.

On offense, they need to add more guards and tackles but that is their only issue on that side of the ball. They have a great quarterback, good running back and tight end and some outstanding young receivers who will only get better - Mike Wallace and rookies Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown to go with returning vet Hines Ward.

Pittsburgh should be as good next season as they were in the one that just concluded with them losing by six points in the Super Bowl. They might be even better with the return of injured players such as Aaron Smith, Willie Colon, Max Starks and having Ben Roethlisberger the entire season.

"I really think we learned a lot this year," Ward said. "The resiliency -- even falling down 21-3 (in the Super Bowl), a lot of teams would have thrown in the towel. But to come back in position to win spoke volumes.

"We know we have the guys here."

Nobody plans to retire, by the way. That includes Ward (36 next month), linebacker Farrior (36 last month) and Smith (36 in April).

"I love this group," Farrior said after the loss in the Super Bowl. "I think it is a heck of a group. There is a lot more football left in us. We just have to stay together. Hopefully, everything works out in the offseason and we get back here next season."


02-14-2011, 08:57 AM
i was also pretty impressed at the job jonathan scott did. he was a great pick up last off season

02-14-2011, 09:58 AM
Ok, Chadman's view..

OL- The return of Max Starks instantly upgrades the left side. It moves Jon Scott out of the starting line-up. Chadman would bring scott back as the back-up OT & let Essex go. In the end, the two compete for the same spot. Legursky probably won himself a new contract. Ramon Foster is undervalued. Pouncey is set a Center- no Crash, they won't move him to accomodate an ok Center in legs. Kemo is not as good as advertised, but it's unlikely the team would consider removing him. Adams has a year left in him. His value to the team might increase if they draft an OT somewhere in the first 3 rounds- his experience could prove valuable. Chris Scott gets a look in camp, but not expecting much. Tony Hills spot is in jeapordy. Willie Colon- some say he's done, washed up. He is also the OLineman that has graded out the best in the coaches view the last 2 seasons he was healthy. Some may not like it, but Chadman expects he's resigned, and rightly so. If Coach Kugs is serious about position-flexibility, with Flo at RT, this could really be the time we see if Colon could move inside to RG. If he can/does, this sets the OL to Starks/Kemo/Pouncey/Colon/Adams. That's starting to look decent, with Legs, Foster & Scott in the wings.

CB- The biggest weakness in the defense is obviously here. B-Mac has regressed, Gay has not progressed. This is a problem. In a unit that requires re-tooling, it's hard to justify any player that doesn't show signs of development. Keenan Lewis does not look like the answer. Madison is obviously not. Butler has some hope, but you can't count on him as yet. Ike is going to get signed to a big contract, but truthfully, not sure if he's worth it. He is, after all, a member of a poor group, even if he is the best member. No doubt there will be a draft pick used at CB. Will it be the 1st? Possibly. The Steelers are often called a team that doesn't delve into FA much, but this is misleading. The Steelers, nearly every year, sign 1-2 quality, VALUE, FA's. Look for a FA CB to be brought in to start until the rookie earns his spot. Carlos Rogers anyone? If a FA is signed, B-Mac & Gay could be gone.

Woodley- He'll be signed. Steelers very rarely lose players they want to keep.

Moore- He'll probably be signed as he's a trusted vet.

Suisham & Sep- Sep likely comes back, Suisham gets a contract, but look for another K to be brought in to beat him.

In regards to re-signing Troy in the future- the off season does funny things to the heads of members on this site. There is NO DOUBT he'll be given a big contract to stay, regardless of his injury history. He's arguably the Steelers best player. He'll be paid like it. And See Woodley's comments for what will happen to Timmons.

02-14-2011, 10:19 AM
Chadman--Agree with your assessment for the most part. Some of my views.

Moore--Getting Dwyer on the field would be a huge upgrade. He will get a serious look. If he performs, Moore could be odd man out.

CB--Too expensive to get a good one as a FA. Affordable ones are probably no better than what we have. We are going to have to invest heavily in this area in the draft.

Punter--Kapinos earned the right to go to camp to compete with Sepulveda. Kapinos boomed some great kicks after he was signed.

Kicker--Same as with punter. Need to bring in some competition for training camp. Still not convinced Suisham is the long term answer

Woodley--I want to resign but not break the bank. If Woodley wants Harrsion like money then he is probably too expensive. Woodley's problem is that he is like a streak hitter in baseball. When hot he is hot but he vanishes for periods of time too. All is not lost because if he leaves we could move Timmons to that outside position and IMO get better production. Could the front office see things the same way????????

02-14-2011, 06:11 PM
It's alright O, you can't be right all the time.


On Moore- he played pretty solid all season & in particular Chadman thought was effective later in the season. He knows the system & was called on as the 'safe' option too often to think the FO won't want him around. His pass protection is as good as a FB at times.

ST Guys- sure, bring in options. These guys are always expendable.

CB- No, no, no. The Steelers can afford a FA CB. AND- even a mid range FA CB is likely an upgrade over Gay/McFadden. That said, the Steelers OFTEN get 1-2 decent FA players- no reason to think they can't again. And given the struggles at CB, and the reluctance to install rookies as starters, a FA CB makes sense. Signing a FA Cb will not effect the decision to draft a CB either. First 2 rounds- Chadman is almost certain we'll see a CB on the team sheet.

Woodley- they won't lose him. They won't. If the Steelers want a player to stay, they find a way to make it happen. Same with Colon- he'll be back. And Ike. They won't risk losing their best CB & pass rusher- not when Defense is such a key contributor on this team.

02-17-2011, 04:00 PM
Injury Wire - End of Season Edition

By David Golebiewski | Tue, 02/15/2011

The Steelers 2010 season was threatened at every turn by injuries. Willie Colon was shelved before the games even started, Max Starks and Aaron Smith each suffered season-ending injuries, and at one point the team's top four offensive tackles were out of action at the same time.


Max Starks, OT
Starks suffered a neck injury in Week 9 against the Bengals. Starks was initially thought to have a stinger, but it was later revealed that he suffered a disc injury in his upper vertebrae. He was placed on IR in November and is expected to undergo neck surgery. The injury isn't considered career-threatening, however.

Aaron Smith, DE
Smith tore his left triceps in a Week 7 contest against the Dolphins. The Steelers didn't place him on IR, but he never made it back to the field. Injuries have marred three of Smith's last four years, as he tore his right rotator cuff in 2009 and tore his right biceps in 2007. Sophomore defensive end Ziggy Hood has emerged during Smith's absence, softening the blow of losing the 3-4 stalwart.

Willie Colon, OT
Colon's year ended before the Steelers reported to Latrobe. The bruising right tackle, who had started 54 consecutive games including the playoffs, tore his right Achilles while working out in late June. A restricted free agent during the NFL's uncapped 2010 season, Colon's contract status for 2011 is still unknown. If a new collective bargaining agreement isn't reached by March 1, Colon will be a restricted free agent.

Dennis Dixon, QB
Dixon started the Steelers' first two games of the season, filling in during Ben Roethlisberger's suspension, but he suffered a torn left meniscus in Week 2 against the Titans. He had arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn cartilage a few days later and was placed on the IR in early October. While at Oregon, Dixon tore his left ACL. If his knee is sound, Dixon has a good shot of entering 2011 as Roethlisberger's backup.

Dan Sepulveda, P
For the third time since his college days at Baylor, Sepulveda tore his right (non-kicking) ACL in Week 13 against the Ravens. Sepulveda posted a career best in net punting average and ranked sixth in the NFL before his injury, but his long-term durability is in question.

Limas Sweed, WR
Sweed tore his left Achilles tendon during minicamp practice in early May. The Steelers' second-round pick in the 2008 draft has just seven career receptions. Sweed is under contract for 2011, but his career prospects in Pittsburgh are dim considering the development of rookie wide outs Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

James Harrison was scheduled to have what his agent described as "minor" shoulder surgery sometime in February... Rookie Maurkice Pouncey, whose ankle injuries kept him out of Super Bowl XLV, is expected to be back to 100 percent in time for the first mini-camp... Troy Polamalu was close to 100 percent for the Super Bowl and shouldn't experience any issues in the off-season... Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was not expected to need surgery on his injured foot, although it still remains a possibility.