View Full Version : Are the Steelers interested in Dwight Smith?

02-25-2008, 10:53 AM
The free safety position in Pittsburgh was made famous in 2007 because of a guarantee. Going into 2008, the position makes no promises.
Because of that lack of security, the Steelers might look into slightly disregarding their longstanding guideline of not bringing in players with character concerns.

Former Vikings safety Dwight Smith played under Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in Tampa Bay when Tomlin was the Buccaneers' secondary coach. Despite two run-ins with Minneapolis Police (once for lewd sexual conduct in a stairwell outside of a night club, the other for marijuana possession in his car, which was recently dropped), Smith was a solid veteran when in Minnesota. In addition, he was brought there by Tomlin when he was the Vikings' defensive coordinator. Smith has eight interceptions over the past two seasons, and was a solid contributor on one of the league's best all-around defenses.

The Steelers lost Ryan Clark for the second half of last season, and second-year safety Anthony Smith didn't exactly step up in the veteran's absence. He provides a hard-hitting presence in the secondary, but his mental mistakes make the free safety position a concern going into free agency (starting Feb. 29) and April's draft.

Clark suffered an inflamed spleen after the Steelers' 31-28 loss at Denver in Week 7, the result of dehydration and the altitude adjustment, which had adverse effects on a blood condition he has always had. He was placed on the IR and had the spleen removed Nov. 11. While Clark technically cannot be released because he ended the season on injured reserve, his future in the NFL is clearly not assured.

It was a huge loss over the course of the rest of the year, considering the Steelers' secondary was attacked without Clark and the injury of strong safety Troy Polamalu. Smith showed flashes of ability, and it is a bit premature to condemn his entire career based on the guarantee he pledged to the media that Pittsburgh would defeat then-undefeated New England in Week 14.
The Patriots lambasted the Steelers -- Smith in particular -- in the second half en route to a 34-13 victory.

Without Clark, the Steelers look to start Smith at free safety with veteran Tyrone Carter backing him up. Barring the unlikely event that University of Miami stud safety Kenny Phillips falls to the 23rd pick, the Steelers are probably going to go shopping for some depth at that position.

If Phillips is there at 23, though, expect the Steelers to spend about six seconds before sending his name up to the commissioner.

As for Smith, he makes sense because of his history with Tomlin and the simple fact he's been around the league long enough to provide much-needed veteran savvy at the deep safety spot. He defends the run well but isn't as over-aggressive as Smith against the pass. That aggression led to teams finding plenty of opportunities to hit the deep ball off of a double-move.

But Smith's run-ins with the law doomed him in Minnesota, which usually is not something on the resume of a Steelers free-agent signee. He has another few years of ability left in him, and regardless of a checkered past, he's going to be sought after on the free-agent market. Is his development as a pro under Tomlin enough for Smith to take a smaller deal to play in Pittsburgh? Are the Steelers sold enough on his character to pay a veteran as much as Smith will command on the open market? Perhaps the biggest question is the status of Clark.

Breaking it down simply, if Clark is physically unable to play, the Steelers have to bring in a veteran to provide depth at one of their weakest positions. Smith does fit that need.

I would be surprised if the Steelers chase Phillips in the first round.

02-25-2008, 12:26 PM
I've heard rumors, that we're looking into Smith. If Tomlin vouches for his character, then why not. Our S position isn't looking to good right now. Clark is out, Polamalu isn't himself, Smith needs to regroup and Carter is old and slow.

Black@Gold Forever32
02-25-2008, 04:58 PM
I got into an argument on Fever about Smith and the Steelers signing him....I say the Steelers should sign him......With Troy being so soft anymore and Clark's condition then I think it would be wise for the Steelers to sign a vet like Smith.....Plus Smith can actually intercept a pass....Something Troy hasn't done since Oct. 22, 2006...lol

02-26-2008, 10:09 AM
If he is willing to come play for the right price then it might not be a bad idea. Tyrone Carter just didn't look solid last year hardly at all. If Clark is able to return to the team and play well like he did before the Safety suddenly becomes much more stable for us. If he can't then yes I'd say we should look into some help at this position. Early indications are that Clark will be ready for camp but he's still getting back into shape from all the problems this season. I wouldn't mind dumping Carter and picking up Smith for the right price.

02-26-2008, 10:29 AM
I know this is about Smith but theres another S going into FA. Gibril Wilson 6' 209 Hes very good in run support but struggles somewhat in pass coverage. He might not go as cheap as Smith but who knows, he had a decent 2007 season, making $425,000. He could be looking for a big payday...:scratch:

02-26-2008, 09:52 PM
I would like Gibril, but he will be too pricey. Smith would be ok I guess. He isn't too good at run support though. Kind of small too, not that it really matters. Regarding Tyrone Carter, he is a solid Special Teams player and BACKUP safety. Nothing more, nothing less.