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Thread: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

  1. #1
    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone
    By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Tuesday, February 2, 2010


    Leave it to always-blunt veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton to say what the Steelers won't about the team's offseason plans to re-sign some of their unrestricted free agents.

    During an interview with the Tribune-Review last week, Hampton said he wants to finish his career with the team that drafted him in 2001. He also said the Steelers passed up the opportunity to re-sign him last offseason, so why should he turn cartwheels (picture that visual, if you will) for the chance to stay with the team that no longer considers him a priority?

    "You didn't feel that strong about signing me before the season, so why is it such a big issue for you to try to keep me now?" Hampton responded.

    Talk about telling it like it is.

    Hampton's absolutely right. He doesn't figure in the Steelers' defensive plans like he did a couple of years ago.

    He'll be 33 at the beginning of next season, and the team no longer considers him an every-down player. In fact, he no longer plays on passing downs.

    Repeat after me: the Steelers will never pay full-time wages for a part-time player.

    The Steelers would love to re-sign Hampton to a multiyear contract on the cheap, but don't count on that happening -- Hampton wants to test the market.

    The Steelers could slap a franchise tag on Hampton and lock him up for another season, but that would be a mistake because an unhappy Hampton makes for an unproductive player.

    In truth, the Steelers feel the same way about free safety Ryan Clark and running back Willie Parker.

    If they really wanted to keep them, they wouldn't have allowed them to become free agents.

    That's not how the Steelers operate. They realize it's cheaper to sign their own players before allowing them to test the market. That way, the Steelers are bidding against themselves.

    Go down the list. The Steelers re-signed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with two years remaining on his contract, and they re-signed outside linebacker James Harrison, tight end Heath Miller and defensive ends Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel with one year remaining on their respective deals.

    This year, the Steelers' offseason strategy will probably involve attempting to re-sign key players who are entering the final year of their contracts. Those players include outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, wide receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Ike Taylor.

    Woodley, who played in his first Pro Bowl on Sunday night, led the Steelers with 13 1/2 sacks this season. Among active players, he's is tied with Dwight Freeney and Mike Vrabel for most postseason sacks with eight.

    Holmes led the Steelers with 1,248 receiving yards and he was second on the team with 79 receptions.

    Taylor is the team's most experienced starting cornerback. He has never missed a game in seven seasons because of injury.

    The longer the Steelers wait to re-sign these players, the more their price tag will go up and the harder it will be for the team to keep them.

    That's why it would seem to make more sense for the Steelers to prioritize re-signing players entering the final year of their contracts, instead of bringing back Hampton and Clark when they didn't lock them up a year earlier.

    It isn't like the Steelers to have second thoughts about re-signing their unrestricted free agents. I'm going to assume that a decision has already been made about Hampton and Clark not coming back to the team.

    Looking at the big picture, director of football operations Kevin Colbert is fond of saying there are two ways for the Steelers to build their roster.

    One way is re-signing their key veterans. The other way is through the NFL Draft.

    The 2010 draft is deep in talent at defensive tackle and safety -- deeper than it has been in years -- and it just so happens those are the positions where Hampton and Clark play.

    In other words, the Steelers don't have to spend high draft picks on potential replacements for Hampton and Clark -- and they can save money in the process.

    They can take a player in the second or third round who might normally be available in the first round.

    Meanwhile, they can permit loyal veterans such as Hampton and Clark to sign a long-term deal with another team in a show of good faith while kicking off the team's inevitable rebuilding plan.

  2. #2
    Hall of Famer Iron Shiek's Avatar
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    Re: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    It makes me wonder...I haven't kept track but have the Steelers ever let a deal expire before re-signing a player?

    I guess the most recent example I can think of was Max Starks, am I correct in thinking that? Who else?

    Historical trend would say these Free Agents are likely gone.
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    Re: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
    Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone
    By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Tuesday, February 2, 2010


    Leave it to always-blunt veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton to say what the Steelers won't about the team's offseason plans to re-sign some of their unrestricted free agents.

    During an interview with the Tribune-Review last week, Hampton said he wants to finish his career with the team that drafted him in 2001. He also said the Steelers passed up the opportunity to re-sign him last offseason, so why should he turn cartwheels (picture that visual, if you will) for the chance to stay with the team that no longer considers him a priority?

    "You didn't feel that strong about signing me before the season, so why is it such a big issue for you to try to keep me now?" Hampton responded.

    Talk about telling it like it is.

    Hampton's absolutely right. He doesn't figure in the Steelers' defensive plans like he did a couple of years ago.

    He'll be 33 at the beginning of next season, and the team no longer considers him an every-down player. In fact, he no longer plays on passing downs.

    Repeat after me: the Steelers will never pay full-time wages for a part-time player.

    The Steelers would love to re-sign Hampton to a multiyear contract on the cheap, but don't count on that happening -- Hampton wants to test the market.

    The Steelers could slap a franchise tag on Hampton and lock him up for another season, but that would be a mistake because an unhappy Hampton makes for an unproductive player.

    In truth, the Steelers feel the same way about free safety Ryan Clark and running back Willie Parker.

    If they really wanted to keep them, they wouldn't have allowed them to become free agents.

    That's not how the Steelers operate. They realize it's cheaper to sign their own players before allowing them to test the market. That way, the Steelers are bidding against themselves.

    Go down the list. The Steelers re-signed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with two years remaining on his contract, and they re-signed outside linebacker James Harrison, tight end Heath Miller and defensive ends Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel with one year remaining on their respective deals.

    This year, the Steelers' offseason strategy will probably involve attempting to re-sign key players who are entering the final year of their contracts. Those players include outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, wide receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Ike Taylor.

    Woodley, who played in his first Pro Bowl on Sunday night, led the Steelers with 13 1/2 sacks this season. Among active players, he's is tied with Dwight Freeney and Mike Vrabel for most postseason sacks with eight.

    Holmes led the Steelers with 1,248 receiving yards and he was second on the team with 79 receptions.

    Taylor is the team's most experienced starting cornerback. He has never missed a game in seven seasons because of injury.

    The longer the Steelers wait to re-sign these players, the more their price tag will go up and the harder it will be for the team to keep them.

    That's why it would seem to make more sense for the Steelers to prioritize re-signing players entering the final year of their contracts, instead of bringing back Hampton and Clark when they didn't lock them up a year earlier.

    It isn't like the Steelers to have second thoughts about re-signing their unrestricted free agents. I'm going to assume that a decision has already been made about Hampton and Clark not coming back to the team.

    Looking at the big picture, director of football operations Kevin Colbert is fond of saying there are two ways for the Steelers to build their roster.

    One way is re-signing their key veterans. The other way is through the NFL Draft.

    The 2010 draft is deep in talent at defensive tackle and safety -- deeper than it has been in years -- and it just so happens those are the positions where Hampton and Clark play.

    In other words, the Steelers don't have to spend high draft picks on potential replacements for Hampton and Clark -- and they can save money in the process.

    They can take a player in the second or third round who might normally be available in the first round.

    Meanwhile, they can permit loyal veterans such as Hampton and Clark to sign a long-term deal with another team in a show of good faith while kicking off the team's inevitable rebuilding plan.
    I'm going to assume not. Just because you weren't signed with a year to go on your previous deal doesn't mean that you are automatically unwanted. The team allowed the contracts of Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu and Trai Essex to expire. They are all still here.

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    Re: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    I'll just assume that Harris is being an idiot again just trying to get some attention by

    I really get the impression that harris is about the worse of all the local sportswriters with regards to access to information. All he does is repeat what others says and offer opinion.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

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    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    I'll just assume that Harris is being an idiot again just trying to get some attention by

    I really get the impression that harris is about the worse of all the local sportswriters with regards to access to information. All he does is repeat what others says and offer opinion.
    And it is usually a poorly-thought-out opinion at that. He seems to try to take a dissenting view from the populace whenever possible in a futile effort to drum up readership (as if he were a radio shock jock or something).

  6. #6
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    Re: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
    "You didn't feel that strong about signing me before the season, so why is it such a big issue for you to try to keep me now?" Hampton responded.
    Sounds like TJ Houshmandzadeh last offseason. The Bengals came with a deal similar to what he was being offered by other teams, but since it wasn't "early" enough TJ had hurt feelings and went elsewhere.

    Sensitive players...

  7. #7
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    Re: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    I'll just assume that Harris is being an idiot again just trying to get some attention by

    I really get the impression that harris is about the worse of all the local sportswriters with regards to access to information. All he does is repeat what others says and offer opinion.
    And it is usually a poorly-thought-out opinion at that. He seems to try to take a dissenting view from the populace whenever possible in a futile effort to drum up readership (as if he were a radio shock jock or something).
    Hey! That is what you say about my opinions. maybe I should reread the article because harris may be onto something
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

  8. #8
    Hall of Famer SteelCrazy's Avatar
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    Re: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    Good players come and good players go....If Hampton was as productive as he was in years past without having to be watched over like a baby he would have been signed. Fact is, we will be just as good with or without Hampton, Clark, and FWP. Our needs are always met and there is a stack of Lombardi's to prove it.

    Repeat after me, We Will Be FINE!!!!!

    I love all three of these guys, but they are in a point of their career which makes them replaceable. Good luck to them if they do not get resigned.

  9. #9

    Re: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    I'll just assume that Harris is being an idiot again just trying to get some attention by

    I really get the impression that harris is about the worse of all the local sportswriters with regards to access to information. All he does is repeat what others says and offer opinion.
    And it is usually a poorly-thought-out opinion at that. He seems to try to take a dissenting view from the populace whenever possible in a futile effort to drum up readership (as if he were a radio shock jock or something).


    Harris is the worst of the worst. If you notice, his articles are almost all speculation. There is rarely any substance, any information from a source, or anything else to distinguish his articles from the banter on this message board.

    I think the Steelers would be foolish not to resign or franchise Hampton. It also isn't the Steeler way to leave a glaring need at a position going into the draft. The Steelers usually enter the draft with an option at every position so that they can avoid reaching for players based on need.

    As for Clark, he may have been able to cash in after 2008, but I think that window has now closed. He is great as a compliment to Troy, but very lackluster in Troy's absence. If he thinks he is getting big money elsewhere, he may be in for a rude awakening.

  10. #10
    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Re: Harris: Steelers' free agents as good as gone

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyesq
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    I'll just assume that Harris is being an idiot again just trying to get some attention by

    I really get the impression that harris is about the worse of all the local sportswriters with regards to access to information. All he does is repeat what others says and offer opinion.
    And it is usually a poorly-thought-out opinion at that. He seems to try to take a dissenting view from the populace whenever possible in a futile effort to drum up readership (as if he were a radio shock jock or something).


    Harris is the worst of the worst. If you notice, his articles are almost all speculation. There is rarely any substance, any information from a source, or anything else to distinguish his articles from the banter on this message board.

    I think the Steelers would be foolish not to resign or franchise Hampton. It also isn't the Steeler way to leave a glaring need at a position going into the draft. The Steelers usually enter the draft with an option at every position so that they can avoid reaching for players based on need.

    As for Clark, he may have been able to cash in after 2008, but I think that window has now closed. He is great as a compliment to Troy, but very lackluster in Troy's absence. If he thinks he is getting big money elsewhere, he may be in for a rude awakening.


    I thought Ryan Clark was exposed as a very average safety at best in Troy's absence.

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