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DIESELMAN
02-16-2007, 02:51 PM
The fiscal new year approaches and we have the logic behind the moves the Steelers should make in the next two weeks. We also have the team's tentative working schedule for 2007. News, assumpions and opinions, oh my!

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/38/380033.jpg

The NFL’s new fiscal year begins March 2, so the Steelers have less than two weeks to get their affairs in order. Here are some of the issues facing the team:
News item: Decision due on Joey Porter’s future.

It’s possible the Steelers could drop Porter and his 2007 salary of $4 million. But if they pay a March roster bonus of $1 million, he’ll stay.

Should they pay $5 million to a 30-year-old pass rusher with bad knees?

Well, the only legitimate replacement on the roster is James Harrison, and he hasn’t shown to be consistently better than LOLB Clark Haggans, let alone Porter. The only other player on the depth chart is Arnold Harrison, whose first season was wrecked by a torn ACL.

If the Steelers dump Porter, they’d need a veteran linebacker from the free-agent class. However, the best of the upcoming crop appear unattainable. Lance Briggs, 26, will likely be slapped with a $7.2 million franchise tag by the Chicago Bears. Baltimore’s Adalius Thomas, who’ll turn 30 by next season, is looking for a signing bonus in the $12 million neighborhood.

A cheaper alternative as a 3-4 (even 4-3) pass rusher is Tully Banta-Cain of the New England Patriots. He’s 6-foot-2, 250 pounds and won’t turn 27 until August. With a career-high 5.5 sacks last season, he’s on the rise as a player and therefore a classic Kevin Colbert target. But the Patriots, at almost $27 million under the cap, can easily keep him.

What’s apparent is that the cost of doing business is skyrocketing, so a healthy Porter could be a bargain at $5 million.

News item: The Steelers are in much better cap position than they’ve ever been heading into a new season.

So proclaims Pittsburgh’s preeminent cap scholars, The Burgh Sports Guys. A concise summation at burghsportsguys.com projects the Steelers to be under the 2007 cap by $3.4 million. Included in the number are calculations for Likely To Be Earned bonus balances from 2006 and for 2007, the retirement of Jeff Hartings, future tenders to exclusive-rights and restricted free agents, the expected release (and replacement cost) of Chris Gardocki, $2 million to sign draft picks, players Nos. 52 and 53 (March 2 compliance involves only the top 51 salaries on the roster), and the 2007 practice squad.

But even though the Steelers have more money than they’ve ever had under the league’s current financial structure, they rank near the bottom of the list. Only three teams, according to Scout.com, will have less available cap space than the Steelers. Twelve teams will have more than $20 million to spend, and another nine teams will have over $12 million. It’s a seller’s market, so don’t expect much participation from the Steelers.

If they do chase a player, and need more cap space, expect them to renegotiate the contracts of Alan Faneca, Aaron Smith and/or Marvel Smith before releasing players such as Porter, Haggans ($2.5 million 2007 salary), Chukky Okobi ($2 million), Cedrick Wilson ($1.9 million), Travis Kirschke ($1.6 million) or Jerame Tuman ($1.2 million). Those players should all be at training camp.

News item: NFL calendar dates fast approaching.

On February 22, the NFL draft combine begins in Indianapolis. This media outlet will be represented and will report on the progress of local college prospects, as well as the players who’ll interest the Steelers at the April 28-29 draft.

March 1 is the deadline to make qualifying offers to restricted free agents and retaining offers to exclusive rights free agents. Members of the latter group -- Arnold Harrison, Greg Warren, Nate Washington – can either accept the minimum-wage offer or sit out the season.

The Steelers have only one restricted free agent, Max Starks. The best estimate is the Steelers will offer him the new second-round tender ($1.3 million), which is the second of four tender levels (same round as drafted $850K, first round $1.85M, first and third round $2.35M are the others). The round indicated would be the compensation should the Steelers fail to match another team’s offer. The deadline for restricted free agents to sign with another team is April 20.

March 2 marks the start of unrestricted free agency. Steelers eligible for free agency are reserves: Rodney Bailey, Barrett Brooks, Chad Brown, Tyrone Carter, Najeh Davenport, Chidi Iwuoma, Mike Logan, Lee Mays, Sean Morey and Brian St. Pierre.

The Steelers’ on-the-field dates are all tentative: April 20-22 first minicamp; May 11-13 second minicamp; May 21-June 14 coaching sessions (OTAs); July 20 training camp.

By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Feb 16, 2007

Not a lot of time left, I can't wait to see what we do and who we resign. We as fans have been discussing these things since before the new year started. Lets hope our FO has been at least thinking that long and hopefully by now Tomlin has a slight grasp on who we need to keep and who we need to let go.

AZ_Steeler
02-16-2007, 04:43 PM
Porter is probably the biggest question mark for the Steelers right now... he might not be too happy with the 5 mil and the Steelers won't want to pay him anything to much higher because he wasn't all that impressive last year :dunno:

K Train
02-16-2007, 04:49 PM
i think porter will stay, hes all talk, he doesnt want to go anywhere. and i dont think last year should be that big of a factor since no one was really that impressive. And i think Harrison is gonna be a beast this year, its his turn.

SteelersfaninPhilly
02-16-2007, 05:28 PM
Kick Porter to the curb.

TEEMONT
02-16-2007, 05:36 PM
I say keep Porter, he doesn't wanna go anywhere. We need a little depth at OLB this year, and Harrison is still a year away from his breakout year.

Black@Gold Forever32
02-16-2007, 05:42 PM
I say keep Porter, he doesn't wanna go anywhere. We need a little depth at OLB this year, and Harrison is still a year away from his breakout year.

+1:bigthumb: Joey the mouth was more talk then production this past year. But we don't have any depth at OLB. So if the Steelers get rid of Porter they better have a replacement plan for him.

As for James Harrison. I think he can be a very good players if given a chance. But he better have his break out year soon. He is in his upper 20's.:bluelol:

SteelersfaninPhilly
02-16-2007, 05:54 PM
Kick porter to the curb. Open up some cap space and groom his replacement.

BlitzburghRockCity
02-16-2007, 06:46 PM
Porter will stay with us. He's a Steeler for life. We'll offer him decent money, plus our teams strength is our LB's. I like James but he's often injured and Haggans is sub par.

I don't want to see Porter with anyone else, he's a black n gold guy and he's in a defense that fits him perfectly.

SteelersfaninPhilly
02-16-2007, 06:50 PM
Then he better take a pay cut. No reason to pay him 5 million a year on the wrong side of 30.

BlitzburghRockCity
02-16-2007, 07:03 PM
I'd be willing to backload a contract for 5 more years for him. Give him a big bonus and then backload the majority of the money and see if he takes it.

K Train
02-16-2007, 07:09 PM
Hes a playmaker, even if hes getting older...and i ahte going in this direction but he is a team "leader" although i do think thats kinda overrated, he does get the d pumped up. Keep him, and let Harrison play more as well....harrisons a beast and one of the best backups in the league, he can play OLB or MLB. Like it or not porter is still on of the best defensive players in the league and hes healthy now, i really would hate seeing him play for someone else.

SteelersfaninPhilly
02-16-2007, 07:12 PM
I'd be willing to backload a contract for 5 more years for him. Give him a big bonus and then backload the majority of the money and see if he takes it.


If you backload his contract. Wouldn't that count as dead money against the cap? When cutting him for under performing?

BlitzburghRockCity
02-16-2007, 07:53 PM
Porter and Harrison are the 2 OLB starters this year. Arnold Harrison is the backup and whoever we draft is the other backup. Cut Haggans.

Yeah you can end up with dead money against the cap if you back load it too much, but if he's willing to take a pay cut to stay with us, it could work out in our favor to give him most of the money upfront.

BB2W
02-17-2007, 01:08 AM
Good article on why they should re-sign Porter...

link: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/dailycourier/news/s_493675.html

BlitzburghRockCity
02-17-2007, 06:25 AM
We've got enough players already sched. to become UFA's after this season, we don't need to add Joey to the list. The dude is productive, intense, a team leader, and someone who give it 100% every snap. I say get him inked to a new year deal this year if at all possible.

We have plenty of time to work on extensions for players like Porter, Faneca, Polamalu, etc. I do not want to envision an offseason in 2008 with a the UFA's that we'll have if we don't attempt to atleast several of them resigned.

SteelersfaninPhilly
02-17-2007, 08:21 AM
We have more pressing needs then signing Porter to extension. Get Joey to take a paycut before extending him. Even then he better come cheap.

BlitzburghRockCity
02-17-2007, 09:10 AM
We certainly have other needs on this team, Joey is far from the only one, but IMO I think he is lumped into that category of important players to lock up like Faneca, Polamalu, Aaron Smith, etc. Do I think Troy should take priority over Joey, yes ! I do think Joey is important for us to bring back.

IMO you can't underestimate team leadership in a time of transition. This team is going through enough changes as it is this year, we don't need to add any more potential issues.

SteelersfaninPhilly
02-17-2007, 09:28 AM
We certainly have other needs on this team, Joey is far from the only one, but IMO I think he is lumped into that category of important players to lock up like Faneca, Polamalu, Aaron Smith, etc. Do I think Troy should take priority over Joey, yes ! I do think Joey is important for us to bring back.

IMO you can't underestimate team leadership in a time of transition. This team is going through enough changes as it is this year, we don't need to add any more potential issues.


Joey was thinking of holding out last season before Cowher talked him out of it. That is not leadership. That is being selfish. I hope he pulls the same crap this year. So we can cut ties with him.

floodcitygirl
02-17-2007, 10:49 AM
Joey was thinking of holding out last season before Cowher talked him out of it. That is not leadership. That is being selfish. I hope he pulls the same crap this year. So we can cut ties with him.I agree with TG...enough with the changes for one season!

Besides...my son just got a Porter jersey this past season. I don't want him to be gone!

SteelersfaninPhilly
02-17-2007, 10:58 AM
Besides...my son just got a Porter jersey this past season. I don't want him to be gone!



That is just the kiss of death. Now I know Porter is gone. :lol:

BlitzburghRockCity
02-17-2007, 01:52 PM
I just got my wife a Polamalu jersey for Christmas so he's got to stay too. :lol:

BlitzburghRockCity
02-17-2007, 01:54 PM
Joey was thinking of holding out last season before Cowher talked him out of it. That is not leadership. That is being selfish. I hope he pulls the same crap this year. So we can cut ties with him.

Hines held out and he's a team leader, so what's the difference? Players hold out and threaten to hold out all the time. Jerome nearly held out before he got his deal with us. He was a team leader.

It really comes down too how much is he willing to take to stay with us like he says he wants too.

DIESELMAN
02-17-2007, 01:58 PM
its one thing to ask a player to restructure his contract (take a paycut) its another thing in how many times are you going to ask certain players to keep doing it?

SteelersfaninPhilly
02-17-2007, 02:20 PM
Hines held out and he's a team leader, so what's the difference? Players hold out and threaten to hold out all the time. Jerome nearly held out before he got his deal with us. He was a team leader.

It really comes down too how much is he willing to take to stay with us like he says he wants too.


TG, you have a point. But Cowher is not here anymore to smooth over any egos.

BBG7
02-17-2007, 11:47 PM
Hines held out and he's a team leader, so what's the difference? Players hold out and threaten to hold out all the time. Jerome nearly held out before he got his deal with us. He was a team leader.

It really comes down too how much is he willing to take to stay with us like he says he wants too.

I was going to say the same thing. This is a business on top of everything. I had a hard time with HInes holding out, but people made me realize that that didn't take away his commitment to the team.

BB2W
02-18-2007, 12:20 AM
More decisions...

link: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07049/763110-66.stm

BlitzburghRockCity
02-18-2007, 01:07 AM
TG, you have a point. But Cowher is not here anymore to smooth over any egos.

Very true, so it's going to be interesting how well Tomlin does that part of his job. Will he appease certain players, or put everybody on the same level. He says everybody is on stage right now to show what they got but we'll see. Will the leaders from the past still feel comfortable being leaders now ? So many questions that we don't have answers to yet.