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Thread: 2019 Analysis: CBs

  1. #1
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    2019 Analysis: CBs

    I'll be doing a post-combine look at each position on the team, trying to be realistic with each evaluation. Some position groups are tougher than others--QBs, OL are pretty easy. CBs, ILBs, not so much. Every position ultimately isn't fully addressed until we make the cut to 53 (see Joe Haden). This a view from today, and first up is the CB group.

    The CB group desperately needs an upgrade at CB#2. Joe Haden was generally great last year; although not all that big or fast, his skills are very good and he made more than a few plays last year that contributed in a major way to wins. In an effort to keep him around longer and make a little more cap room this year to bring in a FA or two, I would extend him for 3 years-30M-9M signing bonus. Roll his 1.9M+ bonus of his current contract into this years salary and the contract essentially looks like salaries of 4.9-7.1-9 for the three years, with cap hits of 7.9-10.1-12 going forward. Getting rid of him (if production falls off) in year 2 saves 1.1M in cap, with year 3 at 6M cap savings. Getting rid of AB this year opens nice cap space for us in 2020 and 2021, so the back laden contract works. Also, gives Joe $13.9M this year (4.9 + 9M signing) but only a cap cost of 7.9 (giving us $4M cap savings this year).

    After Haden, re-sign Hilton. He is a ERFA, so we could get him cheap for a year or sign him now for multiple years. I am torn on this. His play in 2017 was significantly better than in 2018. He is very small. Slot corners are much easier to come by than boundary CBs (they are failed or too small to be boundary CBs), but nonetheless are important in today's NFL. If they can get him at the right price, do him longer term. I don't want emotion (he is a great story) to dictate overspending, but I'd like to keep him for more than just one more year. How does 4 years-$14M sound. It would come with a 4M signing bonus, and salaries of 1-2.5-3.5-3. His cap hits would be 2-3.5-4.5-4. Get rid of him after 2 years and you would save money, if it doesn't work out. He pockets 5M in year one. Nice raise!

    Cam Sutton stays. Still on rookie contract, so he's cheap, and I have not been totally displeased from what I've seen when he's on the field. A nice cheap backup that can play boundary, but most suited to slot.

    Brian Allen--scratch my head. He's hung around a few years on his length-athleticism combo. Time for him to show or be gone. My overall feeling is that I'd like to see him get a real look (in pre-season--40+ snaps per game) because he's cheap and has boundary traits.

    Coty Sensabaugh. He's a UFA, but I don't believe other teams will be rushing to sign him up to a mega-deal. We can sit on him and wait and see how FA and the draft play out. Probably not a priority signing for any team. As a player, I think he's an okay option for a #3. He knows our system and can play at an acceptable level. Definitely want an upgrade, but we know he is capable as a solid if unspectacular short-term sub if someone gets nicked. Given what I consider the options in FA (see below), the unlikelihood of a blockbuster trade for a stud CB (also see below), I think the most likely scenario for the Steelers is drafting a CB and keeping him at a modest price as insurance should the rookie not be ready to play significantly on Week 1. The rookie, even if at #20, will be cheap in the first few years, so Coty could get a short, front-loaded contract. Maybe 3 years at $7.5M, with a signing bonus of 3M will do it. Contract years of 2-1.5-1 would make his cap value at 3-2.5-2, with 4M to pocket this year. Who will really offer him better.

    Artie Burns is the odd man out. I would package him in a trade and try to get at least a 7th out of him this year (when I pick Wishnowsky-punter, to compete with the erratic Berry). I don't like it, but he's mentally washed-out in Pitt. He needs a change of scenary. Rumors are that Oakland is offering #27 for AB; do we throw in Burns for Conley as a swap of disappointing 1st rounders that need a change of venue. His goalline play against Tyler Boyd in the first Bengals game was enough for me. Bengals are around the 15, Burns lines up at the goalline, immediately backs up as the ball is snapped, Boyd runs a sharp out at the goalline and Burns is more than 5 yards away. What was that--I'm 53 and I think (know) I could have made it look at least contested. Wow. A change of scenery is the only thing that will help him. I wish him good luck.

    So, FA CBs. This is a scary, dreary bunch. Desir-Darby-Claiborne-Nelson. Injuries, short-term track record. I don't like the thought of tying up any of these guys in a high-priced, long-term deal. Since the Colts have mega cap space, I would assume they will re-sign Desir. He was good this year (not great), but that makes the only good year he's had. He would cost 8-10M per year and seems kind of hit or miss to me. I like the others even less. This is a bad year for FA CBs, at least for those available today. That's why I don't understand those posters pushing for a FA CB signing--it's a good philosophy (proven over unknow rookie CBs--which we seem to have a hard time drafting), but our FA choices right now may not even be improvements over what we have. Kicking the tires on oft-injured, cheaper priced guys on a prove-it contract might be the way to go. Philip Gaines and Jason Verrett (if he stays healthy he would be an upgrade) come to mind. Eric Rowe may also be worth a low-price look, but the question is will any of these guys actually end up being an upgrade from who we have now. 50-50 at best. Interesting potential releases for cap reasons could enrich the crop--Jimmy Smith, Dre Kirkpatrick and Janoris Jenkins may make a better pool available. I would consider all three of those guys at the right price.

    Trade for CBs. Other than the Conley proposal above, I've identified seven other definite upgrades for us that have been rumored (once or twice) to be available. These will all come with a heavy cap-hit, although we will duck the pro-rated bonus money and maybe get a semi-bargain: P. Petersen-J. Ramsey-T. White-X. Rhodes-D. Slay-M. Butler-J. Norman. These guys may come into play in an AB trade or if we get Oakland's #27. I'd give that #27 up for any of these guys if we can fit them under our cap. We'd still get the BPA of ILB, OLB-TE-WR at @ #20 and have Haden to pair with them. Very nice upgrade.

    Draft a CB. Greedy Williams, Byron Murphy and Deandre Baker are the clear top three; after that, there is a gap. Williams time in the 40 probably pushed him back in the lead for this group. After that, Murphy and Baker had okay but somewhat pedestrian 40 times. However, their film is very good, and they make plays. do you think Haden is still good--he probably would be lucky to run a 4.6 now, and he wasn't all that fast when he was drafted, IIRC. I'll take an instinctive sticky-CB any day over a speedy but slow-to-react guy. Tired of watching guys not competing when the ball is delivered. If your S play is good (ours needs to improve), the flat-out speed of the CB matters less anyway. So many routes in today's NFL are less than 12 yards anyway. After those three (all likely top 25), the next group of Oruwariye, Mullen, Love, Ya-Sin all have a few warts, and are really 30-50 guys. After that, Layne, L. Johnson, Boyd are 50-90 guys and Ballentine, Bunting, Dean, Holder, Fields and Hartage (with a horrible 40 time but good film) are pick-em 100-150. Diamonds in the rough from 151 to Mr. Irrelevant.

    So, how does this turn out, realistically. I think the two Devins (White and Bush), based on their Combine performances, both end up gone at #20. With that, we pick the best remaining CB of Williams-Murphy-Baker, re-sign Sensabaugh to the contract I suggested, and pick a late CB in 6 or 7 (Blessuan Austin would be my pick to compete will Allen). What would I most like to see happen, my ultimate wishlist--acquiring the #27 for AB and trading for any of the experienced and proven CBs I mentioned in the trade section. Least wish to happen--getting someone from the currently slim-pickings at FA CB. These guys are potential expensive reaches.

    Thanks for reading. I'll be doing other position groups in the future, most easier than this one, haha.

  2. #2
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    Excellent work, Maine! I'm also in the camp of potentially trading for a starting CB opposite Haden (see my sig) because I am not enamoured with the current FA crop at CB and our history of drafting corners is substandard to say the least.
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher View Post
    Excellent work, Maine! I'm also in the camp of potentially trading for a starting CB opposite Haden (see my sig) because I am not enamoured with the current FA crop at CB and our history of drafting corners is substandard to say the least.
    Thanks Ruthless! If we could pull off the trade in your sig I'd be happy with that. Rhodes and Haden would be a nice match. What do you think of keeping Sensabaugh (at the right price) if we end up having to draft a CB (instead of a trade). To me, at least it's a known commodity and we don't go backwards (especially if we can upgrade ILB, OLB, and find a suitable replacement for the Burnett role--I like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson for that role--Edwards-Davis-Gardner Johnson).

  4. #4
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    excellent analysis!

    I do think Artie Burns will be given one more opportunity to regain his confidence though...

  5. #5
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    If we opt to attempt to add a starting CB with an early draft pick instead of obtaining one via trade or free agency, I wouldn't mind bringing back Sensabaugh on a reasonable deal for insurance and to have another veteran mentor type for the rook besides just Haden. Coty's certainly not a guy you'd want to count on as a starter, but he's reasonable depth if he could be kept at a reasonable price.
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

  6. #6
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    Aren't the Raiders in need of CB?
    Think Mayock would be intrigued by Artie Burns being a part of the deal?
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...!!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    excellent analysis!

    I do think Artie Burns will be given one more opportunity to regain his confidence though...
    yuppers, financially it would be foolish not to

  8. #8
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    Great post!

    I love getting info on draft prospects, upcoming UFAs, and trade targets.

    I think the best case would be if we could trade AB for a disgruntled CB with a few years left on their contract. Then both teams would be taking the hit from the deferred signing bonus and getting the reward from the lower annual salary. I don't think this will happen though.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    excellent analysis!

    I do think Artie Burns will be given one more opportunity to regain his confidence though...
    Jeremy Fowler
    ESPN Staff Writer

    The Pittsburgh Steelers haven't given up on corner Artie Burns, their 2016 first-round pick who was benched last season. Coach Mike Tomlin said from the NFL owners meetings that Burns' arrow "hadn't been going up and that's just realistic. But he has an opportunity to do something about that."

    19h
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

  10. #10
    Pro Bowler

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    Burns may stick as a cheap back up in 19. However before our day 3 selections start on draft weekend we will have selected a cb imho. Justin Layne would make a nice 3/66 choice.

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