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Thread: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

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    Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    Time is now for Steelers' Clark


    Published on 02-16-2010
    By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW


    You're Ryan Clark, starting free safety with the Steelers the last four seasons. This is your story.

    You're an unrestricted free agent who wants to finish your career in Pittsburgh. Of course you do.

    Joining a new team would mean uprooting your family and learning yet another system your fourth in nine years.

    You won a Super Bowl with the Steelers. But so did former free safety Chris Hope, who said all the right things about wanting to finish his career with the Steelers but left for more money with the Tennessee Titans.

    You really have to hope the Steelers don't have someone in mind to replace you the way they knew how to replace Hope.

    Remember who that was? You, of course.

    You hope the Steelers aren't stuck on Ryan Mundy, who is working out at West Virginia with his college coach, Bill Stewart. You hope the Steelers prefer your experience and understanding of the defense to Mundy's relative youth and lack of prime-time experience.

    You hope the Steelers' brass values your friendship with fellow starting safety Troy Polamalu.

    You hope the Steelers are fixated on drafting nose tackles, linebackers, offensive linemen and cornerbacks. But not safeties.

    You hope that USC safety Taylor Mays is off the board when the Steelers select at No. 18 in the first round. You hope the Steelers' brass continues to have selective amnesia if safeties Morgan Burnett of Georgia Tech and Myron Rolle of Florida State are available in later rounds.

    Spending a high draft pick on a safety would make it difficult for the Steelers to bring you back.

    Polamalu earned $6.495 million last season. The transition tag for the position is a little over $6 million, which is what it would take for the Steelers to retain you if they don't re-sign you to a long-term deal.

    The chances of that happening are remote, no matter what your agent thinks.

    ''We can all conjecture they're not going to pay two safeties a lot of money. Well, why wouldn't you?'' your agent, Joel Turner asks. ''You pay two defensive linemen a lot of money. You pay two linebackers a lot of money. You can only afford to have one safety? You're not paying two free safeties. You're paying a strong safety and a free safety. You need one of each for the defense to work well.

    ''We're not asking for a fortune. We're just asking for a fair deal. If they're not fair, I'll be shocked.''

    If the Steelers re-sign Clark and nose tackle Casey Hampton, I'll be shocked. Tagging both players for next season would run in excess of $13 million.

    Good luck with that happening.

    Remember, the Steelers could have re-signed Clark a year ago after winning Super Bowl XLIII. Instead, they re-signed tight end Heath Miller and defensive end Brett Keisel to long-term deals.

    Still, the Steelers' loss could result in Clark's financial gain.

    If Clark can wrap his mind around the idea of wearing a different uniform next season, the idea of 31 other potential employers in the NFL, it could ease the sting of not returning to the Steelers.

    After all, a paycheck is a paycheck.

    The NFL is all about timing, so this is a great time to be a free safety with free agency only a week away.

    New Orleans likely will franchise Darren Sharper, taking the best free safety off the market and putting more potential free-agent dollars in Clark's pocket.

    Last year, safeties Gibril Wilson (five years, $27.5 million) and Yeremiah Bell (four years, $20 million) were the big winners in free agency.

    It's Clark's turn to cash in.

    ''If that's the money those guys are making, then Ryan's worth more,'' Turner says of Wilson and Bell. ''Ryan is the best free safety available in unrestricted free agency. There are some guys who are younger, but Ryan's it.''

    Sure, Clark wants to finish what he started with the Steelers. Maybe he'll have the opportunity to do just that.

    More likely, Clark will move on to another team, and the Steelers will repeat their familiar game plan of replacing a key starter with a younger, less expensive version.

    It is a cold, calculating business model with little thought given to sentimentality, but it's what works for the Steelers.

    Clark can console himself with fond memories and a larger paycheck.

  2. #2
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    Re: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    If Clark is looking for that kind of money (5-yrs/$27.5 mil), than he won't be coming back. Take THAT to the bank.

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    Re: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    This part of the article is just dumb, since the free agent signing period begins 3/5/10, while the draft isn't until 4/22/10 to 4/24/10. A decision on Clark, one way or the other, will be made in the next two months, before the draft occurs.

    You hope the Steelers are fixated on drafting nose tackles, linebackers, offensive linemen and cornerbacks. But not safeties.

    You hope that USC safety Taylor Mays is off the board when the Steelers select at No. 18 in the first round. You hope the Steelers' brass continues to have selective amnesia if safeties Morgan Burnett of Georgia Tech and Myron Rolle of Florida State are available in later rounds.

    Spending a high draft pick on a safety would make it difficult for the Steelers to bring you back.
    If Clark's agent thinks he's getting over $5 million per year here, he's nuts. Would you call the signings of Wilson and Bell successful? Ask Dolphin fans if those two safeties are worth a combined $10 million per year. Parcells typically knows what he is doing when it comes to personnel moves, but those were two pretty stupid signings.

    Last year, safeties Gibril Wilson (five years, $27.5 million) and Yeremiah Bell (four years, $20 million) were the big winners in free agency.

    It's Clark's turn to cash in.

    ''If that's the money those guys are making, then Ryan's worth more,'' Turner says of Wilson and Bell. ''Ryan is the best free safety available in unrestricted free agency. There are some guys who are younger, but Ryan's it.''
    We don't allow other teams' poor fiscal responsibility to impact how we do business.

    When the Bills signed Derrick Dockery and the Browns signed Eric Steinbach to silly $7 million per year contracts for guards, it did not impact how we dealt with Faneca, even though Alan was a better guard than those two guys.

    Stupid contracts given to Gibril Wilson and Yeremiah Bell for $5 million per year for safeties should not impact how we deal with Clark, even if Ryan may be a better safety than those two guys.

    A stupid contract given to Sebastian Janikowski for $4 million per year for a kicker should not impact how we deal with Reed, even if Jeff may be a more accurate kicker than him.

    At least we will have the transition tag that can be used on Reed if he feels that he is suddenly worth more. Clark is not worth what a franchise or transition tag would cost for a safety, so he will walk if he feels that anything less than what Wilson or Bell got is an insult, since we are not going there. If that is the case, I will hope that Eric Berry slips down to around #10 and we trade up to get him. Otherwise, we will be taking a long look at Earl Thomas in the first or Nate Allen or Chad Jones in the second.


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    Re: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    Quote Originally Posted by NW Steeler
    If Clark is looking for that kind of money (5-yrs/$27.5 mil), than he won't be coming back. Take THAT to the bank.
    I agree; the agent said why not (pay Safeties that much), but it's quite clear--it would be suicidal to do that, particularly going into a final year before the work stoppage in '11. IF I WAS AN OWNER, I would essentially treat this season as a wash.

    In other words, if I win the SB, great... but I'm not necessarily looking to put "the best" product out there on the field, if it means committing money beyond this year.

    I will consider franchising fa+boy; I actually don't care if he leaves either, cuz like I said: All I'm interested in this year is financial.

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    Re: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoe
    Quote Originally Posted by NW Steeler
    If Clark is looking for that kind of money (5-yrs/$27.5 mil), than he won't be coming back. Take THAT to the bank.
    I agree; the agent said why not (pay Safeties that much), but it's quite clear--it would be suicidal to do that, particularly going into a final year before the work stoppage in '11. IF I WAS AN OWNER, I would essentially treat this season as a wash.

    In other words, if I win the SB, great... but I'm not necessarily looking to put "the best" product out there on the field, if it means committing money beyond this year.

    I will consider franchising fa+boy; I actually don't care if he leaves either, cuz like I said: All I'm interested in this year is financial.
    For what it's worth, if there is a lockout in 2011, the owners still get their $5 billion from the networks even if no games are played, but they do not have to play their players a dime.


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    2.46 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
    3.97c ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford
    4.118 CB Philip Gaines, Rice
    5.157 OT James Hurst, North Carolina
    5.173c RB Jerrick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
    6.192 CB Walt Aikens, Liberty
    6.215c DE Deandre Coleman, California
    7.230 NT Zack Kerr, Delaware

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    Re: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher

    For what it's worth, if there is a lockout in 2011, the owners still get their $5 billion from the networks even if no games are played, but they do not have to play their players a dime.
    Wow. I never thought of that. I guess the owners don't really give a crap whether or not there is a season on 11' then, do they? The fans will come back, no matter what. It won't have near the effect that it did in baseball.

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    Re: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    Quote Originally Posted by NW Steeler
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher

    For what it's worth, if there is a lockout in 2011, the owners still get their $5 billion from the networks even if no games are played, but they do not have to play their players a dime.
    Wow. I never thought of that. I guess the owners don't really give a crap whether or not there is a season on 11' then, do they? The fans will come back, no matter what. It won't have near the effect that it did in baseball.
    I didn't realize that either. Wow.

  8. #8
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    Re: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Quote Originally Posted by Shoe
    Quote Originally Posted by NW Steeler
    If Clark is looking for that kind of money (5-yrs/$27.5 mil), than he won't be coming back. Take THAT to the bank.
    I agree; the agent said why not (pay Safeties that much), but it's quite clear--it would be suicidal to do that, particularly going into a final year before the work stoppage in '11. IF I WAS AN OWNER, I would essentially treat this season as a wash.

    In other words, if I win the SB, great... but I'm not necessarily looking to put "the best" product out there on the field, if it means committing money beyond this year.

    I will consider franchising fa+boy; I actually don't care if he leaves either, cuz like I said: All I'm interested in this year is financial.
    For what it's worth, if there is a lockout in 2011, the owners still get their $5 billion from the networks even if no games are played, but they do not have to play their players a dime.
    It's called being smart businessmen and knowing how to negotiate contracts. That is how they became millionaires and billionaires. The players will lose this without a doubt. The only question is how much will they screw up the game for the fans before they realize they have lost.
    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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  9. #9
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    Re: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    If Clark isn't re-signed, does anyone think Sean Jones of the Eagles, and before that the Browns, could be an effective short-term option while a rookie is drafted to learn & eventually take over?

    Or, is there any real chance that Ryan Mundy is given a shot?
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    Re: Time is now for Steelers' Ryan Clark

    If Clark is not re-signed, the Steelers HAVE to sign a free agent FS no matter what they plan to do in the draft. I'd be willing to bet that if Clark is looking for 4-5 mil per season that the Steelers will say good luck and look elsewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if they drafted a FS and a SS in this draft, at least for depth.

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