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hawaiiansteel
03-05-2012, 11:53 PM
SUNDAY, MARCH 04, 2012
posted by Dale Lolley

What's next for Steelers


After the painful goodbyes of last week, the Steelers now prepare for the next step in the 2012 offseason - making their final preparations for free agency.

After last week's releases and the previous restructures the team did in the previous weeks, the Steelers are approximately $12 to $14 million under the salary cap - depending on what it finally comes in at.

The Steelers must now tender their offers to restricted free agents. That will include a first-round tender of $2.742 million for wide receiver Mike Wallace and the low tender of $1.26 million to guards Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky, both of who were undrafted, corner Keenan Lewis (third), safety Ryan Mundy (sixth) and tight end David Johnson (seventh).

That will eat up some $9 million of their newfound cap space.

Offering the low tender for Foster and Legursky is a gamble, perhaps even more so than making a first-round tender for Wallace.

With the release of Chris Kemoeatu, the Steelers have no other guards with NFL experience on their roster. Should another team decide to make an offer to Legursky or Foster that the Steelers cannot or do not want to match, they would receive no compensation.

The team does still have some cap wiggle room should it have to clear space to match an offer for Wallace or either guard.

Nose tackle Casey Hampton, who is scheduled to make $5.89 million, could be asked to take a pay cut or be released. The Steelers could also trim offensive tackle Jonathan Scott ($2.2 million) or safety Will Allen ($1.28 million).

A couple of things we do now know after last week's cuts is that A. this team values Jerricho Cotchery over Ward and will make a strong push to re-sign him, and B. Guard and inside linebacker have become the undoubted biggest needs in the draft.

The Steelers have enough money under the cap to make a strong offer for Cotchery, though, again, if they have to match any offers to their own restricted free agents, obviously, some other cuts would have to be made.

Resigning Cotchery would also preclude the team from making a strong pitch for any of their unrestricted free agents, most notably corner Will Gay or running back Mewelde Moore.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/

Chadman
03-06-2012, 02:26 AM
Honestly- the money it will likely take to re-sign Cotchery could be better spent elsewhere. He'll be the #4 WR at best. There will likely be better value #4 WR's on the market.

SS Laser
03-06-2012, 03:05 AM
Honestly- the money it will likely take to re-sign Cotchery could be better spent elsewhere. He'll be the #4 WR at best. There will likely be better value #4 WR's on the market.

I disagree Chadman. I am betting right now that Cotchery comes cheaper then you think. He likes the Steelers locker room and does not want to go back to a "bad" locker room. He has seen the dark side. I think he takes a home town discount sort of thing to stay here.

Plus if any injuries happen I think he is still a very good #3 WR. That can be a #2 if need be. I would back this up with some stats if I could find the website that gives all the rankings and weird ratings of players. But I can not find it.

Oviedo
03-06-2012, 08:33 AM
Honestly- the money it will likely take to re-sign Cotchery could be better spent elsewhere. He'll be the #4 WR at best. There will likely be better value #4 WR's on the market.

I disagree Chadman. I am betting right now that Cotchery comes cheaper then you think. He likes the Steelers locker room and does not want to go back to a "bad" locker room. He has seen the dark side. I think he takes a home town discount sort of thing to stay here.

Plus if any injuries happen I think he is still a very good #3 WR. That can be a #2 if need be. I would back this up with some stats if I could find the website that gives all the rankings and weird ratings of players. But I can not find it.

:Agree I think Cotchery would be a great value. Our WR grouping is far from being a sure thing. Wallace faded badly in the second half of the season. Brown could be a one year wonder (I don't think so) and Sanders has not made it through a season without being injured.

Cotchery would be a hugely valuable insurance policy and I think he would be on the field alot.

Shawn
03-06-2012, 09:31 AM
Considering Wallace could be gone this year or next and Sanders can't stay healthy, there is a very real possibility that Cotch could be a #2 in very short order. I like the security blanket this signing would bring.

phillyesq
03-06-2012, 09:34 AM
Honestly- the money it will likely take to re-sign Cotchery could be better spent elsewhere. He'll be the #4 WR at best. There will likely be better value #4 WR's on the market.

I disagree Chadman. I am betting right now that Cotchery comes cheaper then you think. He likes the Steelers locker room and does not want to go back to a "bad" locker room. He has seen the dark side. I think he takes a home town discount sort of thing to stay here.

Plus if any injuries happen I think he is still a very good #3 WR. That can be a #2 if need be. I would back this up with some stats if I could find the website that gives all the rankings and weird ratings of players. But I can not find it.

:Agree I think Cotchery would be a great value. Our WR grouping is far from being a sure thing. Wallace faded badly in the second half of the season. Brown could be a one year wonder (I don't think so) and Sanders has not made it through a season without being injured.

Cotchery would be a hugely valuable insurance policy and I think he would be on the field alot.

I agree with Ovi again on this one.

Cotchery has a lot of value to this young group, both as a steady veteran presence and as a possession receiver. Sanders has had been injury prone, and Cotchery provides injury insurance for this year and insurance against one of the young guys leaving next year.

Right now, the WRs are an area of strength, and Cotchery can help them build on that strength.

hawaiiansteel
03-06-2012, 11:19 PM
Younger Steelers roster could create leadership gap

TUESDAY, 06 MARCH 2012 WRITTEN BY BOB SMIZIK


Native Pittsburgher and long-time NFL insider Len Pasquarelli weighs in on the recent purge of Steelers veterans. Their production won't be missed but their leadership might.

By Len Pasquarelli, The Sports Xchange

Before some of my Pittsburgh homeys begin queuing up on the Fort Pitt Bridge for a swan dive into the frigid Monongahela River, or start to bawl uncontrollably into their Terrible Towels, a dose of reality.

Let’s consider for a moment the agonizing salary purge the cap-strapped Pittsburgh Steelers were forced to instigate before the league year officially commences on March 13. Difficult as it was for team president Art Rooney II, general manager Kevin Colbert, coach Mike Tomlin and cap guru Omar Khan to essentially transform the Steelers into a real-life version of “No Country for Old Men,” the only 2011 full-time starter among the half-dozen guys who were whacked was inside linebacker James Farrior, 37, and a 15-year veteran.

At least in terms of football production, certainly of late, the Steelers didn’t lose a lot. The scrap heap roll-call: Hines Ward, who holds all of the franchise records for a receiver, but who will be 36 later this week, and was coming off a season in which his 8.3-yard average was the lowest in the league, by a yard, for any wideout with at least 40 catches. Farrior, 37, arguably the greatest free agent addition in franchise history, but whose 78 tackles last season were his fewest since joining the Steelers in 2002. Aaron Smith, perhaps the league’s finest pure 3-4 defensive end in the past 10 years or so, but who appeared in an average of 5.0 games the past three seasons because of injuries.

The rest: Bryant McFadden started one game in 2011, lost his starting job to a guy (William Gay) who had himself lost it a season before, and became a cornerback afterthought after the first month of the year, buried on the depth chart below a bunch of younger players. Guard Chris Kemoeatu, playing behind a couple of undrafted free agents in the rotation, was reviled by the ‘Burghers because of his maddening penalties. Arnaz Battle was a solid special teams player, but also a No. 6 wide receiver who totaled zero catches during two seasons in Pittsburgh.

So before anyone wraps himself in black and gold sackcloth, and begins to erect a Wailing Wall on the North Side to mourn the exits of some of the finest men to ever wear the Steelers’ uniform, perspective should take over. The dearly departed will certainly be missed in a city that prides itself on its sense of history, but not as much on the field as many suspect.

The same people who 20 years ago chastised the sainted Chuck Noll for hanging on too long to many players, guys whose Hall of Fame legacy often overshadowed for the legendary coach the fact they simply couldn’t play anymore, might do well to recall that lesson. And, yeah, in my hometown, there are still enough aging fans to remember that period. In the age of the salary cap, a constraint with which Noll didn’t have to deal, such decisions are more driven by economics. That doesn’t, however, make them any easier, just more pragmatic.

Doubtless, it will be off the field, in the sanctuary of the locker room, where the deficit will be more pronounced and keenly felt. The Steelers, probably through the draft more so than free agency, a market in which Pittsburgh officials rarely even window-shop, will find and develop replacements for the roster. But in terms of leadership, well, the spackling job will be tougher.

Farrior, Hines and Smith were among the most respected players in the Pittsburgh locker room, arguably in the entire league. Toss into that group, at least in local terms, backup nose tackle Chris Hoke, forced to retire because of a neck injury. That’s a pretty solid nucleus of leadership. Indeed, Tomlin on occasions in recent years termed Farrior “our unquestioned leader.” Good friend and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook last week pointed out that Tomlin typically turned to Farrior to deliver the final words the Steelers heard before leaving the locker room.

Even before he samba-ed his way into the country’s consciousness, Ward was always a media magnet in the locker room, a player who spoke with perspective, and whose candor was much appreciated by the scribes. Ward was hardly beloved in NFC precincts like Baltimore or Cincinnati, but most players around the league ceded him grudging respect. Smith was a quiet presence, but always gracious with his time. Even for those who wandered into the locker room maybe three or four times a year, there was always a special feeling, because there resided there some longtime “go to” guys, from whom you could elicit more than just the usual canned rationalizations.

Well-described breakdowns of game situations, not the usual trite bromides, were the norm from players like Ward and Farrior.

No one cares, nor should they, that things won’t be the same for the media. But by extension, the environment won’t be quite the same for the “Stillers” (yeah, that’s Pittsburgh-ese), either, and that’s the far more critical loss for the franchise.

Leadership and chemistry have long been regarded as overrated buzz-words in the NFL. But for years, we’ve operated under the theory that those intangibles, along with football smarts, accounted for a couple wins per year for the franchises that had guys who possessed the attributes. No hard, empirical evidence, of course, just an observation gleaned from three decades of hanging around locker rooms.

The Steelers in 2012 may put the theory to the test. They will find players to step into the vacancies created by the veterans who’ve left. The Steelers always do. There is probably sufficient young talent to again challenge for a playoff spot. Finding players to step into the leadership void created by the offseason overhaul, though, will be markedly more difficult.

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazet ... hip-vacuum (http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/32158-roster-purge-leave-leadership-vacuum)

Oviedo
03-07-2012, 08:41 AM
Younger Steelers roster could create leadership gap

TUESDAY, 06 MARCH 2012 WRITTEN BY BOB SMIZIK


Native Pittsburgher and long-time NFL insider Len Pasquarelli weighs in on the recent purge of Steelers veterans. Their production won't be missed but their leadership might.

By Len Pasquarelli, The Sports Xchange

Before some of my Pittsburgh homeys begin queuing up on the Fort Pitt Bridge for a swan dive into the frigid Monongahela River, or start to bawl uncontrollably into their Terrible Towels, a dose of reality.

Let’s consider for a moment the agonizing salary purge the cap-strapped Pittsburgh Steelers were forced to instigate before the league year officially commences on March 13. Difficult as it was for team president Art Rooney II, general manager Kevin Colbert, coach Mike Tomlin and cap guru Omar Khan to essentially transform the Steelers into a real-life version of “No Country for Old Men,” the only 2011 full-time starter among the half-dozen guys who were whacked was inside linebacker James Farrior, 37, and a 15-year veteran.

At least in terms of football production, certainly of late, the Steelers didn’t lose a lot. The scrap heap roll-call: Hines Ward, who holds all of the franchise records for a receiver, but who will be 36 later this week, and was coming off a season in which his 8.3-yard average was the lowest in the league, by a yard, for any wideout with at least 40 catches. Farrior, 37, arguably the greatest free agent addition in franchise history, but whose 78 tackles last season were his fewest since joining the Steelers in 2002. Aaron Smith, perhaps the league’s finest pure 3-4 defensive end in the past 10 years or so, but who appeared in an average of 5.0 games the past three seasons because of injuries.

The rest: Bryant McFadden started one game in 2011, lost his starting job to a guy (William Gay) who had himself lost it a season before, and became a cornerback afterthought after the first month of the year, buried on the depth chart below a bunch of younger players. Guard Chris Kemoeatu, playing behind a couple of undrafted free agents in the rotation, was reviled by the ‘Burghers because of his maddening penalties. Arnaz Battle was a solid special teams player, but also a No. 6 wide receiver who totaled zero catches during two seasons in Pittsburgh.

So before anyone wraps himself in black and gold sackcloth, and begins to erect a Wailing Wall on the North Side to mourn the exits of some of the finest men to ever wear the Steelers’ uniform, perspective should take over. The dearly departed will certainly be missed in a city that prides itself on its sense of history, but not as much on the field as many suspect.

The same people who 20 years ago chastised the sainted Chuck Noll for hanging on too long to many players, guys whose Hall of Fame legacy often overshadowed for the legendary coach the fact they simply couldn’t play anymore, might do well to recall that lesson. And, yeah, in my hometown, there are still enough aging fans to remember that period. In the age of the salary cap, a constraint with which Noll didn’t have to deal, such decisions are more driven by economics. That doesn’t, however, make them any easier, just more pragmatic.

Doubtless, it will be off the field, in the sanctuary of the locker room, where the deficit will be more pronounced and keenly felt. The Steelers, probably through the draft more so than free agency, a market in which Pittsburgh officials rarely even window-shop, will find and develop replacements for the roster. But in terms of leadership, well, the spackling job will be tougher.

Farrior, Hines and Smith were among the most respected players in the Pittsburgh locker room, arguably in the entire league. Toss into that group, at least in local terms, backup nose tackle Chris Hoke, forced to retire because of a neck injury. That’s a pretty solid nucleus of leadership. Indeed, Tomlin on occasions in recent years termed Farrior “our unquestioned leader.” Good friend and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook last week pointed out that Tomlin typically turned to Farrior to deliver the final words the Steelers heard before leaving the locker room.

Even before he samba-ed his way into the country’s consciousness, Ward was always a media magnet in the locker room, a player who spoke with perspective, and whose candor was much appreciated by the scribes. Ward was hardly beloved in NFC precincts like Baltimore or Cincinnati, but most players around the league ceded him grudging respect. Smith was a quiet presence, but always gracious with his time. Even for those who wandered into the locker room maybe three or four times a year, there was always a special feeling, because there resided there some longtime “go to” guys, from whom you could elicit more than just the usual canned rationalizations.

Well-described breakdowns of game situations, not the usual trite bromides, were the norm from players like Ward and Farrior.

No one cares, nor should they, that things won’t be the same for the media. But by extension, the environment won’t be quite the same for the “Stillers” (yeah, that’s Pittsburgh-ese), either, and that’s the far more critical loss for the franchise.

Leadership and chemistry have long been regarded as overrated buzz-words in the NFL. But for years, we’ve operated under the theory that those intangibles, along with football smarts, accounted for a couple wins per year for the franchises that had guys who possessed the attributes. No hard, empirical evidence, of course, just an observation gleaned from three decades of hanging around locker rooms.

The Steelers in 2012 may put the theory to the test. They will find players to step into the vacancies created by the veterans who’ve left. The Steelers always do. There is probably sufficient young talent to again challenge for a playoff spot. Finding players to step into the leadership void created by the offseason overhaul, though, will be markedly more difficult.

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazet ... hip-vacuum (http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/32158-roster-purge-leave-leadership-vacuum)


Leaders will emerge just like the recently departed group of leaders emerged to take over from a previous group.

Shawn
03-07-2012, 10:22 AM
Ben and Pouncey on offense will likely step up.
Harrison, Troy, Keisel, Woodley on D.

We have guys who should be able to step into that gap.

Oviedo
03-07-2012, 10:29 AM
Ben and Pouncey on offense will likely step up.
Harrison, Troy, Keisel, Woodley on D.

We have guys who should be able to step into that gap.


I hope Troy does step up and truly lead this defense. I think they are going to need his inspiration. I'm just not sure it is in his nature to "rally the troops" and pump them up.

RuthlessBurgher
03-07-2012, 11:12 AM
I think Troy and Harrison and Heath are more "lead by example" guys than traditional vocal leaders.

That said, I think we have a few vets who could be solid vocal leaders for us right now, like Keisel and Clark and Ben. Plus, we have some younger guys who should really start to blossom into leaders in the coming years such as Woodley and Pouncey and Antonio Brown.

flippy
03-07-2012, 11:24 AM
I see the following leaders emerging:

Ben, Brown, Sanders, Pouncey
Foote, Clark, Keisel, and perhaps a young guy like Heyward on D.

Ultimately we'll be fine. This is Ben's team and he's already proven to be the toughest SOB in the league by a wide margin.

And on D, the relentless passion by James Harrison will lead by example.

TallyStiller
03-07-2012, 09:44 PM
As to glib media quotability, I've seen Ryan Clark numerous times sitting at the table opposite Skip Bayless on "First Take" on ESPN 2. He's already a cable tv talking head while he's still playing at a Pro Bowl level. Gotta believe he steps up to fill that role in this locker room.

There is something to be said for having a guy or guys like that... some suggest that a lot of the idiotic drivel that regularly issues forth from Rex Ryan's over - sized pie hole is for the purpose of taking pressure off his players by drawing media attention to himself in that insufferable fish bowl that they play in. If media attention fixates on a few well spoken guys comfortable with the spotlight, the rest of the team is free to focus on playing ball.

pfelix73
03-08-2012, 12:07 AM
I had the opportunity to meet Ryan his 1st year with us during camp in Latrobe. He's a leader all the way. Super guy.. Hope he finishes his career here and makes Pittsburgh his 2nd home- permanently. Although he has a fondness for Louisiana..

:tt1

DukieBoy
03-09-2012, 02:35 PM
The major concern that I fear is the impact upon the spirit and culture of our team in losing major factors in that spirit and culture ... Hines, Farrior, and Smith. Seems to me it is essential for the Steelers to consciously seek to continue this excellent spirit and culture by capably filling the gaps in leadership in the aftermath of these huge changes. No argument here about the diminished skills and need for change in that regard. I am not confident that the quality of leadership can be replaced.

Dee Dub
03-09-2012, 02:48 PM
Honestly- the money it will likely take to re-sign Cotchery could be better spent elsewhere. He'll be the #4 WR at best. There will likely be better value #4 WR's on the market.

Are you assuming that Sanders is the #3? He hasnt proven anything yet.

costanza2k1
03-09-2012, 03:02 PM
Are you assuming that Sanders is the #3? He hasnt proven anything yet.
I would imagine, Sanders and Cotchery would rotate the #3 position. I'm really hoping Cotchery signs as he's the type of leader the WRs need before they get too carried away with this young money crap.