View Full Version : Steelers may sign no one

02-15-2011, 09:08 AM
With free agency ready to begin in a little more than two weeks, the Steelers are in no rush to sign any of their potential unrestricted or restricted FAs.

I could find no negotiations going on with any of them. That report that surfaced somewhere last week that the Steelers were negotiating with Ike Taylor for a new contract? Not true. They have not talked.

Free agency changed last year when the NFL entered the final year of the CBA. Instead of four years needed to become a UFA, it turned to six and that affected Willie Colon greatly. He lost potential millions of dollars in the deal because instead of being unrestricted and being able to court other teams, Colon was restricted and essentially could no and the Steelers decided not to negotiate a long-term deal with him.
We do not know what the new rules for free agency will be when a new CBA arrives. There might not even be a new CBA in time for there to be free agency Ė nothing can happen after March 3 except for the draft. Players whose contracts are up will be in limbo and besides drafting players in April, teams cannot sign them; they cannot sign undrafted rookies either.

So everything is on hold until there is a new CBA. Estimates for that have varied from mid-march until late August or early September. If itís the latter, itís likely there will be no free agency this year. What that would do to players like Colon and Ike Taylor and LaMarr Woodley and others is unknown. Must they sign another contract to play for their current team? Be given a week or so as free agents to consider other options? Thatís just one of many issues the league and players must work out if the lockout is extensive.

But as Bill Cowher would say, letís not deal with the what-if issues. Here is a list of various Steelers free agents and what kind they would be under the previous system, before the final capped year extended the UFA period by two years. So, the UFAs are those whose contracts have expired and have at least four years of service (Lawrence Timmons has four years in but as a first-round draft choice, he signed a five-year contract so he has one more to go). RFAs have three years of service in and a contract that is up. Exclusive rights are those with two years or fewer whose contract is up. Essentially, exclusive rights means they must sign with their current team unless they are released. RFAs can court other offers but their team has a right of first refusal and, if they waive that, would receive compensation in the form of draft picks.

Unrestricted Free Agents: Willie Colon, Nick Eason, Trai Essex, Keyaron Fox, Chris Hoke Anthony Madison, Mewelde Moore, Shaun Suisham, Ike Taylor, LaMarr Woodley, William Gay, Jonathan Scott, Daniel Sepulveda, Matt Spaeth.
Restricted Free Agents: Dennis Dixon, Tony Hills
Exclusive Rights: Doug Legursky


02-15-2011, 10:27 AM
Could be lots of room for the young guys to make the team. Taylor has to be the priority. I would love for the to keep Woodley, Sepulvalda, and Hoke also. Every one else I don't really care about. Colon is going to want to much money, after all in his world he is a top 5 tackle in the league.

02-15-2011, 10:33 AM
IMO we need to keep...Sep, Woodley, Legursky for sure!!

02-15-2011, 10:38 AM
What do the Steelers have cooking?

02-15-2011, 10:45 AM
If I had to guess, I would say that once a new CBA is agreed upon, the teams will have a week or two to sign their own players before free agency starts.

02-15-2011, 01:30 PM
If I had to guess, I would say that once a new CBA is agreed upon, the teams will have a week or two to sign their own players before free agency starts.

That's the popular consensus, that once a deal is reached teams will be given X amount of time to designate franchise/transitional players, etc. There were a few teams today that put the tags on players but overall not many, pretty much like we expected.

Fortunately for the Steelers, none of their players can go anywhere until a new deal is signed so they are in limbo just like everyone else. This is why the owners have the upper hand, they have these players by the neck knowing full well they can be patient rather than start trying to work out big deals before they know what the new CBA will be.

02-15-2011, 02:40 PM
IMO we need to keep...Sep, Woodley, Legursky for sure!!

Add Ike to that list.

02-15-2011, 03:43 PM
Remember, that list is as of the old system that would have been in place had the CBA been extended or otherwise continued when it ran out. Legursky can't go anywhere, neither can Dixon or Hills. The rest of them can be UFA's when a CBA is established at some piont.

02-15-2011, 05:14 PM
Sunday, February 13, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers delayed their offseason by one month and now the NFL owners are working on extending it. As Hines Ward said this past week, there is a lot of uncertainty, and as Kevin Colbert said a week earlier, there is so much uncertainty that they had not even talked about whether they will sign any of their potential free agents before March 4.

So, what will the Steelers do and what do they need to do?

The answers are not much and not much.

Teams were allowed to begin putting franchise tags on players Thursday, and no one should be surprised that the Steelers have not done so. They can sign their own players only through March 3, either to new contracts or contract extensions. No one should be surprised if they sign no one.

The so-called Steelers Way does not resemble a two-minute offense; it carries a heavy dose of patience, and they won't discard that merely because a lockout looms. If anything, the lockout could promote even more patience.

Whenever a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between the owners and players, the sides are likely to agree on a short period to permit teams to franchise players (if indeed that remains a tool in the new CBA), to sign players and to present tenders or not to restricted free agents (if that also remains in place).

A new CBA likely will not include radical changes in the system, but there could be new wrinkles such as tweaking how they pro-rate a signing bonus and the service time needed to become either a restricted or unrestricted free agent.

Until those are known, many teams will be reluctant to sign players and they can sign them only until March 3 because starting March 4 all business will grind to a halt, provided the owners lock the players out, which seems certain at this point. That is less than three weeks away.

There was one report that LaMarr Woodley expects to be franchised. That would cost the Steelers a one-year salary of more than $10 million with no guarantee there will be a franchise tag under the new rules. It also might establish a base for negotiating a new contract. They used that tag on Max Starks, so it is possible they would do so with Woodley to buy time to try to negotiate a multi-year contract with him. But neither Woodley nor any other player can sign elsewhere until there is a new CBA, so patience again should rule the day.

That takes care of the first "not much."

As for what the Steelers need to do to enhance their chances of winning Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis: Again, not much.

They need to go about their routine of drafting good players and not necessarily trying to fill a certain need. Their biggest needs looking at their 2010 season are cornerback and offensive tackle, but that does not mean they will automatically use their first two draft picks on those positions.

It will depend on who is available to them when they draft or if they might be able to make a trade to move up to get a quality corner or tackle. Usually, there are neither of those in free agency without a stiff price tag, something the Steelers rarely indulge.

"We never try to attack this thing for any one given year," Colbert said as a reminder. "The goal of the organization is to have a chance to compete every year. We [had] a chance this year. Beyond that, we'll try to retool it and see where it stands -- this team, this playoff run and then draft preparation. Where that will lead, I don't know."

The Steelers came within a touchdown of winning their seventh Super Bowl and their second in three seasons and third in six. That is a sign that this team is no fluke, that it can remain competitive for the long run.

As with all teams, however, it has its issues that must be worked out. It starts on defense, where Ike Taylor, their only proven strong cornerback, can become a free agent. The issue of age on defense, however, has been overplayed. Yes, linebacker James Farrior turned 36 last month and the defensive line is well into its 30s except for Ziggy Hood. But neither Casey Hampton nor Brett Keisel showed signs of slowing down, so the Steelers still have time to find another lineman or two over the next year or two. And if Aaron Smith stays healthy, that gives them five strong linemen, including unrestricted free agent-to-be Chris Hoke.

If they lose Woodley, Jason Worilds will be next up and while the linebackers might take a hit, they will remain a strong group.

Getting another good cornerback should be a top priority, but the defense that was No. 2 overall won't fall off next season.

It is no secret the offense needs more linemen and it could become critical at tackle. Max Starks had neck surgery that involved a fusion of the vertebrae, and Willie Colon surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. Neither is guaranteed a recovery to the point they will be as good as they were before those injuries. If they are, the Steelers will have their starting tackles back and suddenly the position does not look so desperate. If they do not, they are in trouble. Flozell Adams, who is signed at $5 million for 2011, turns 36 in May. Jonathan Scott is not a starting left tackle. Tony Hills will enter his fourth season having played hardly at all in his first three. Trai Essex is looked upon more as a guard than a tackle.

The Steelers also could use another guard but that is not critical, especially after they got an extended look at Doug Legursky's play at center for Maurkice Pouncey. Legursky could compete at guard or at the least he gives them a strong backup at guard and center.

Other than that, the Steelers are set on offense. They have an excellent tight end, quarterback, running back and receivers. Much was made of Mike Wallace's low production in the postseason but his 21-yard average on 60 catches in the regular season was second in the NFL, he caught 10 touchdown passes and his 1,257 yards were seventh most in team history and more than Santonio Holmes ever had.

Wallace is on the verge of being a star and he was open for two long passes that did not reach him in the Super Bowl. Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown will only get better, and Hines Ward remains a good receiver, as he showed in the postseason.

There is no reason to believe the Steelers will not be as good in 2011 as they were the past season, maybe better if they can avoid a few injuries. Plus, their starting quarterback should be able to open the '11 season with them.

Bookies have made the Steelers the No. 3 favorite to win the Super Bowl, behind Green Bay and New England. That's a long climb, but they've reached that game in three of the past six seasons and there's nothing glaring standing in their way to make another go of it in 2011, other than a lockout.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11044/1125093-66.stm#ixzz1E4IxBvW9

02-15-2011, 06:34 PM
The question is do we (Steelers fans) want to replace two corners of one outside LB: I would want Woodley to resign, but the Steelers can not afford to lose Taylor. If he had some hands, he would be getting into the Revis type money.

If the Steelers lose Woodley, they could move Timmons outside (his natural position) with Woulds as the primary OLB and place Foote back at his old position, with S.S. and/or Fox as backup ILB:

With James Harrison make BIG money and still playing at a high level and Timmons contract up next year. The Steelers prepared for this situation when that drafted two OLB last year. (Although they lose one to hold a spot for A. Smith) And remember S.S. national position is also OLB.

If Woodley wants to remain an Steelers, the best thing for him to do is sign a two year deal for good money (16 million) and cash for BIG MONEY (32+ million) in when the contract of Farriors, Foote, Harrison, Wards, Smith, Hampton, Starks, Kemo, money deal come off the books.

02-15-2011, 08:28 PM
My money is with the steelers , well you know it always is . It ' s never easy to win the superbowl . Lot of things have to go right in a season for it to happen . Realistically the steelers do have a great chance .
the things they have to do to get there:

1. address the cornerback slot , Ike on one side , major upgrade on the other .

2. keep running the ball but get Wallace ,Brown , Saunders involved in the game plan more .

Truely , I think that's it .

3. any sturdy up the offensive line .

02-16-2011, 11:30 PM
The Steelers are holding off on talks with 15 players who can become unrestricted free agents under a contract that expires in March.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers apparently are standing pat for the most part and will not push to sign any of their top potential free agents before their contracts with the team expire with the end of the NFL's calendar year March 3.

Of the 15 players who could become unrestricted free agents under the old rules of a collective bargaining agreement set to expire at midnight March 3, only one could be found who has had any type of talks about a new contract. That includes their top three free agents to be -- linebacker LaMarr Woodley, cornerback Ike Taylor and offensive tackle Willie Colon.

They have held some "brief talks" for a new contract with offensive tackle Jonathan Scott, according to agent Jordan Woy, but have discussed no numbers. Scott started the final 11 games, including three in the postseason, at left tackle for injured Max Starks. He signed a one-year contract in 2010 as a free agent from Buffalo.

It also is possible they will put the franchise player tag on Woodley before the deadline to do so a week from Thursday. That designation would, under the old rules, guarantee that Woodley plays for the Steelers another season with his salary determined as the average of the top five linebacker salaries in the league in 2010. A year ago, that was $9.68 million and should reach $10 million in 2011. The Steelers did that with Starks in 2009 and were able to sign him to a new long-term contract that June. They would hope to do the same with Woodley, who earned only $550,000 last season, his fourth and the third as their starting left outside linebacker.

The teams, however, do not even know if there will be a franchise tag included when the owners and players agree to a new CBA. Still, teams have been designating franchise players over the past week, and the Steelers may follow suit with Woodley.

Before last year, players could become unrestricted free agents after four seasons, provided their contracts expired. They became restricted free agents after three years. That changed last year when the NFL entered the final year of the CBA as an uncapped year in 2010. Instead of four years needed to become a UFA, it turned to six, and that affected Colon. He lost millions in a potential long-term contract as an unrestricted free agent. Instead, Colon was restricted and signed a one-year tender for $2,198,000, then was lost for the season when his Achilles ruptured in June.

Woodley also was affected monetarily by the uncapped year, in which he earned a salary of $550,000. Under normal circumstances, with one year left on his contract entering 2010, the Steelers would have signed him to a multi-year, multi-million contract extension with a big signing bonus. But because of the rules changes in the final year of the CBA, any new contract would limit salary increases of no more than 30 percent annually, and 30 percent of $550,000 was not in the neighborhood that Woodley had since resided. The alternative was to give him a huge signing bonus but that might have cost anywhere between $25 million and $40 million.

So, Woodley played at a bargain-basement salary and, provided there is a new collective bargaining agreement this year, will make up for lost time either as the Steelers' $10 million franchise player or with a new multi-year contract.

The following are the Steelers free agents, assuming the old rules apply, making players unrestricted after four years and restricted after three:

Unrestricted -- Willie Colon, Nick Eason, Trai Essex, Keyaron Fox, Chris Hoke, Anthony Madison, Mewelde Moore, Shaun Suisham, Ike Taylor, LaMarr Woodley, William Gay, Jonathan Scott, Daniel Sepulveda, Matt Spaeth, Greg Warren.

Restricted -- Dennis Dixon, Tony Hills.

Exclusive rights -- Doug Legursky.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11047/1125666-66.stm#ixzz1EBg57mPZ

Mr. Goosemahn
02-17-2011, 03:26 AM
My take on it

OT Willie Colon - barring any major setbacks, our starting RT. Plus, we have no depth.
OT Jonathan Scott - serviceable as a starter, we have no depth.
LB Keyaron Fox - made mistakes, but is a good ST player, solid LB depth, knows defense, and comes cheap.
NT Chris Hoke -good NT for our rotation, plus we have no depth.
CB Anthony Madison - ST Ace, keep him based on that alone
CB Ike Taylor - #1 CB, no way he is allowed to leave.
OLB LaMarr Woodley - franchise tag
CB William Gay - keeps improving (still struggles at times though), plus we have no depth.
P Daniel Sepulveda - very good punter when healthy, big if though. injury = not expensive.
LS Greg Warren - solid for a long time, why screw that up

Allow to leave:
DE Nick Eason - Old, Hood is #1 backup now, we can find another player elsewhere.
OG Trai Essex - His roles on the team will be replaced by Jonathan Scott, Doug Legursky, and others.
RB Mewelde Moore - We don't need him with Mendenhall, Redman, and Dwyer set for future (well, maybe Dwyer not yet).
K Shaun Suisham - good for a while, not long term answer.
TE Matt Spaeth - not a big fan of his, improved late in season though

QB Dennis Dixon (3rd round tender) - trade bait. If he resigns, it's for a small amount, no significant investment. If another team signs him, we get a third round pick. Win-win, IMO.

Let leave:
OT Tony Hills - even without depth at OT, he sucks and we don't need him. Has done nothing so far.

C Doug Legursky - proved to be a good center in SB, needs more time there to truly measure his talent. Still, as an ERFA, he comes back very cheap and is definitely a good asset for us.