A couple more of the Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh Steelers have just forfeited their opportunity to win championships for the opportunity to collect money. Can’t blame them…Bryant McFadden could have stayed and played, but not for the cash that he’s getting in Pittsburgh West Arizona. Anthony Smith was a promising player who let his mouth do more talking than his play; enjoy the guarantees Green Bay. The Steelers will be fine, and even though McFadden will be missed, this years draft has a very deep CB class.
Something tells me we’ll be looking to draft some depth for the secondary this April.
Update: The Steelers brought in Joey Galloway for a visit, I’d give you my opinion, but Dale seems to have thought through all the implications already. I wouldn’t say that Joey is the answer that will get us over the hump again, but he’ll be a nice addition for a reasonable price.
Updated list of Steelers FA’s:
UFA – Charlie Batch
UFA – Mitch Berger
UFA – Fernando Bryant
RFA – Willie Colon
UFA – Jon Dekker
UFA – Trai Essex
UFA – Keyaron Fox
UFA – Andre Frazier
UFA – Arnold Harrison
UFA – Chris Kemoeatu – Resigned with Pittsburgh
UFA – Byron Leftwich
RFA – Anthony Madison
UFA – Bryant McFadden – Signed with Arizona
RFA – Sean McHugh – Resigned with Pittsburgh
UFA – Orpheus Roye
REL – Kendall Simmons
UFA – Anthony Smith – Signed with Green Bay
UFA – Marvel Smith
UFA – Nate Washington – Signed with Tennessee
…well for the Steelers.
For every other team, it began on “Black Friday”, which is rarely, if ever Black and Gold Friday. The Steelers took care of some of their own, as they always do (the Kemoeatu signing was surprising) and they were certain to lose some of their contributors, as they always do. In my mind free agency for the Steelers doesn’t really begin until we bring in someone new or we lose someone to another team.
Today was that day; the first UFA Steeler has left the comfort and security of a champion and headed out on a journey alone. A path that Yancey once walked and failed.
Nate Washington is a Tennessee Titan. Best of luck. But I don’t think we’ll be hearing much from you.
The next Steelers player likely to go is Bryant McFadden, it’s actually somewhat surprising that he hasn’t landed somewhere yet. There is a current stir about the potential signing of Free Agent Titan Chris Carr as a CB/KR.
In case you haven’t been aware to this point who our free agents are (which would be shocking if you follow the Steelers close enough to read blogs about them), here’s a list: Continue reading
A lot has been made about the Steelers obvious choice to not take specific positions of (apparent) need. From our outside perspecive it seems so obvious that we NEED a LT or a RG. It seems obvious that we need depth at the DL position (ok, that really is obvious). But, I’m not jumping off any bridges today because it seems as if the Steelers have balked at the “obvious” holes in our team.
What are these gaping holes that the Steelers seem to have? Below are 5 of them and how the team has addressed them through FA and the draft.
1. Protecting Ben Roethlisberger from getting put on his backside. (CW – some Offensive Linemen)
How it was addressed: The Steelers chose the strategy of adding weapons rather than OL. Coach Tomlin said that there are two schools of thought when protecting the QB (which in stating that, agreed that this was a problem). You either get some big men to give him more time OR you give him weapons to throw to. If Rashard and Mewelde can block on blitzes then that’s even better. Both of these guys can catch out of the backfield and will provide the dump off option when necessary. LImas Sweed added to a great but shallow group of wideouts will help stretch the field and keep defenses honest. If a defense knows that they can’t be beat downfield then they can “cheat” up and get to the QB. I could agree with either “school” of thought but I cannot argue with taking the best available players rather than reaching for a guy that we didn’t really wan and who was the 8th or 10th best player at his position when we can get top 2 or 3 at each. Don’t forget that we drafted Tony Hills, a large man at 6’6″, 305lbs (he allowed just four quarterback sacks and seven pressures on 743 pass plays)
Aside: For all the inconsistency on the OL this past season I think a LARGE factor that is often overlooked is that we lost Russ Grimm. He was, is and always will be a great OL coach. This past year for our guys was a transition year after quite a few years of coaching consistency (that’s also true with the whole team, of course) at offensive line. And for all the good things that Alan Faneca brought to the Steelers over the years he was a disgruntled soldier in the trenches this past year. An offensive line that’s working as a unit can overcome some skill deficiencies…it’s called teamwork and we see it every year in NCAA basketball when a little school with a group of seniors who have played together for years trump talent by their teamwork. Allow me to get illustrative for a moment: A tiger (literally, the animal) can and usually will kill a lion one on one in the wild. They are crazy and to be feared. But, five tigers will almost never kill five lions…because the lions work together as a team. They gang up all five on one tiger and take him out quickly while moving on to the next. I think you get the point. Our OL is not bad, they just need to play together. And not allow Sean Mahan to sniff the center position.
The Steelers agreed to a contract with a man called “Booger”. It’s late and not much time to “dig” for more info, but seeing how he failed the Colts physical and subsequently was cut, I’m a little nervous. At least his primary role will be that of a back up.
From the Post-Gazette: Anthony “Booger” McFarland, released last month by the Indianapolis Colts when he failed their physical, came to a contract agreement with the Steelers last night after meeting with team officials and taking a physical earlier in the day. He is a defensive lineman who is 6 feet, 300 pounds. He spent all last season on injured reserve with a knee injury. The Colts acquired McFarland in a trade with Tampa Bay in October 2006 for a second-round draft choice.
He was the Buccaneers’ first-round draft choice in 1999 from LSU and played for Tampa Bay when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was the secondary coach there.
In other news:
Clark Haggans and Jereme Tuman have jumped
to Western Pittsburgh (ie. not as good as the real Pittsburgh). I read somewhere that Brian St. Pierre may be joining them too.
Love, love, love Dan Rooney’s perspective on several key issues
that will arise at the owners meetings. Winning the division SHOULD matter, that’s why we have them. The integrity of the game is paramount to it’s longevity. Seriously, give the defense a chance…I like defense. I’d love to hear his position on the “hair” issue.
The Steelers traditionally don’t make a splash in free agency, usually opting to let other teams make splashes with Pittsburgh’s players. I’m having trouble thinking of the last BIG splash the Steelers have made in free agency…hmm? I could be missing someone, but off the top of my head James Farrior seems to be the last real impact player we’ve signed as a FA.
Generally, I’m ok with this. How could I not be, I am not even a blip on the radar and I certainly don’t make personnel decisions. Whatever the Steelers have been doing usually works. Here’s where the “but” comes…but, if ever there was a time to splash rather than sprinkle I’d say based on the needs, this is the year. Granted, there aren’t many “spalsh-worthy” players (other than Moss, who I wouldn’t even want)…so a 5 out of 10 splash will be just fine.
What brought all of this to mind was this quote I came across by Kevin Colbert as reported in The Arizona Republic:
“In talking with Alan and talking with Alan’s representatives, he’s probably going to get significant money on the open market and it’s probably money that we’re not going to be able to absorb,” said Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert. “And if we did absorb it it might limit what else we can do in free agency.”
That last line jumped off the page to me. I was resigned to thinking that we will just wait on the draft…and he easily could have said that if they spent so much money on Faneca they wouldn’t have the necessary flexibility to sign draft picks and slews of FA rookie tackling dummies.
That’s not what he said. He said, free agency. I know, I know, Steelers and free agency are oxymorons. To quote Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance!”