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Thread: It's time to decide who stays and who goes

          
   
   
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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    It's time to decide who stays and who goes

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07046/762327-66.stm

    Thursday, February 15, 2007
    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


    The Steelers start their final evaluations of free agents today as the new coaches join the scouting staff to make up a wish list of players they might add to their team and those they do not want -- perhaps including some of their own.

    The Steelers have no unrestricted free agents who started for them last season, and only one who is restricted -- offensive right tackle Max Starks. It's likely some players under contract won't be asked back, particularly if the Steelers believe they can release a player to make room under their salary cap to sign another.

    "We were an 8-8 team," Kevin Colbert, their football operations director, said yesterday. "For us to think we can stand pat and be any better than that, I think would be naive on our part."

    Colbert said the Steelers will be tight under the salary cap, expected to be about $109 million per team, and that it is likely they will be as active this year as they have been in recent years in free agency, or very little. Each of the past two years, they've signed one mid-priced free agent who eventually started -- wide receiver Cedrick Wilson in 2005 and safety Ryan Clark in 2006.

    Free agency starts March 2.

    There are ways to create more room under the cap, through re-signing their players and shifting their salaries into a bonus, by asking players to take cuts or by releasing players. For example, in all likelihood punter Chris Gardocki, 37, will be released because he ranked near the bottom of the league and his salary for 2007 would be slightly more than $1 million.

    They also must decide what to do with linebacker Joey Porter. He not only is set to earn a salary of $4 million but an additional $1 million in a roster bonus payable early in March. Last year, Porter admitted that then-coach Bill Cowher talked him out of holding out of training camp because he wanted a contract extension. Will they try to extend his contract? Let him play out his last season, hoping he does not hold out?

    Another possibility would be to not pay Porter the $1 million bonus and let him become a free agent. That's considered unlikely, particularly since they are thin at outside linebacker and, while Porter had a subpar 2006 after knee surgery in May, he made three Pro Bowls in the previous four seasons.

    "I want to say there are [six] guys with either roster or reporting bonuses, and we're still in the process of making those decisions," Colbert said when asked if the Steelers would pay Porter's roster bonus.

    "We haven't made any decision on anybody not being here or even being here. As we go through this thing and we get closer -- like that ... and you look at what's going to be available and compare it to what you have -- is there somewhere we can upgrade either through an exchange of players or a combination of players? Those are the things we're going to be doing, along with the draft and the cap all kind of mixed in together."

    The other five players due roster bonuses in March are Alan Faneca ($1 million), Aaron Smith ($1 million), Ike Taylor ($300,000), Marvel Smith ($250,000) and Willie Parker ($250,000).

  2. #2
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    It should be a no brainer for Gardocki, he's gone. The Steelers usually do a great job of renegoiating contracts of higher priced players to make run under the cap so I'd expect that trend to continue this offseason as well.

    Im anxious to see what happens with not only Porter but obviously the others as well and how many of them will get new deals this offseason to extend their contracts and get cap relief.

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    Good riddance on Gardocki; Max Starks can go too!

    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    It should be a no brainer for Gardocki, he's gone. The Steelers usually do a great job of renegoiating contracts of higher priced players to make run under the cap so I'd expect that trend to continue this offseason as well.
    I really wouldn't mind seeing Max Starks go to the Cardinals either! He was a 3rd round pick 3 years ago (75th) overall and the Cardinals 3rd round pick this year would be the 69th pick. I believe we're better off with Willie Colon at RT anyway. With Whisenhunt and Grimm over in Arizona with a ton of cap room I think there is an excellent chance that Maxie is gone. Any significant increase in salary offered by the Cards would not be matched by us IMO! With compensatory picks already coming for our free agent losses last year it is not inconceivable that we could end up with 5 picks on day 1. We will have our 3 regular picks (15th, 47th, 79th) with the Cards stealing Starks we could end up with the 69th (their 3rd round pick) plus the compensatory pick at the end of the 3rd round (Von Ol Hoffen, Chris Hope, Antwaan Randle El) which I will guestimate as the 96th pick. We could do some damage with 5 picks on day1! And with another 5 picks coming on day 2 we would have plenty of wiggle room to trade up for players we really wanted since it is unlikely that 10 rookies could make our talented roster anyway!

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    I agree, with all the talent our roster currently has, all those draft picks won't make the team. The problem I see with lettings Starks go is that then we are razor thin at Tackle, and Colon is young without much starting experience as it is. His upside is huge and I like his potential but if he goes down, or doesnt work out, we're not in good shape with having to slide a rookie in there. Essex can play both Tackles as I understand it so that helps, but still our depth is zero at that point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    I agree, with all the talent our roster currently has, all those draft picks won't make the team. The problem I see with lettings Starks go is that then we are razor thin at Tackle, and Colon is young without much starting experience as it is. His upside is huge and I like his potential but if he goes down, or doesnt work out, we're not in good shape with having to slide a rookie in there. Essex can play both Tackles as I understand it so that helps, but still our depth is zero at that point.
    Sure we would! Hello anyone know where Philips is and how he plays why are they going to move Simmons to C when we got people for that position. We needed help on Oline for a while now but is this the answer?
    "It is hard to wait around for something that you know may never happen;but it's even harder to let go when it's everything you want"
    -unknown

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    Simmons seem to be a bit of a natural at Center, more so than at guard where he just hasn't played all that well the last couple years, really since he blew out his knee.

    Okobi is still the front runner on the depth chart at Center so he and Simmons could be battling it out at Center during camp. Chris K could slide into the RG spot but then we better pick up atleast a couple OL in the draft and FA for depth.

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    I still like to know about Philips He's has been on the 53 man rooster all season and has yet to play
    "It is hard to wait around for something that you know may never happen;but it's even harder to let go when it's everything you want"
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  8. #8
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    O-lineman don't need seasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    I agree, with all the talent our roster currently has, all those draft picks won't make the team. The problem I see with lettings Starks go is that then we are razor thin at Tackle, and Colon is young without much starting experience as it is. His upside is huge and I like his potential but if he goes down, or doesnt work out, we're not in good shape with having to slide a rookie in there. Essex can play both Tackles as I understand it so that helps, but still our depth is zero at that point.
    Looking back through the years at Steeler drafts most of the really good O-lineman that we have had jumped in the starting roster their first year! Almost every (project) O-lineman pick has eventually been released or traded. The jets just went to the playoffs last year with 2 rookies on their O-line! Willie Colon was a fourth round pick last year and in my mind has a bright future with us. Some of our back-ups suck right now! Let them go and go find someone else. Why are we worried about who plays center when we have 2 guys who we drafted as centers? Because they aren't that good! Throw them back and go fish for another! Faneca, Marvel Smith, Simmons and Starks started right away. Chris Conrad, Kris Farris, Mathias Nkwenti, Chucki Okobi, Drew Caylor, Bo Lacy, Chris Kemoeatu, Trai Essex, Marvin Philip these are names of other lineman who have been drafted since the 98 draft where we landed Faneca and most of these aren't with us anymore. And the ones who are with us that aren't already starters.......most of us don't want them to be starters! Best way for lineman to get seasoning? Play! As we can all see by the names of the non-starters on that list.....sitting for a year or two before being thrown in isn't a guarantee for success! Anyone predict last years 4th round pick out of Hofstra (Willie Colon) to be this good? If any of you had him on your own list of hopefuls I would be surprised! He was the 131st pick! There are more gems out there just like him who probably went to smaller schools and we never heard of them but the Steeler scouts always seem to find them. Then there are the Robert Galleries who are touted as the second coming and picked top 5 in the draft who never live up to the hype. Talent assessment is a crap shoot in the draft. Sometimes you hit the home run (Justin Strzelczyk, 293rd pick out of Maine) and sometimes you strike out (Jamaine Stephens, 29th pick out of North Carolina A&T) never started a game for us! I say throw em back and start over. You want a project? Take up woodworking! You want a lineman who can play with some attitude? You probably won't find him sitting on your bench.........go get one in the draft! IMHO

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    as for gardocki...just look nat the avatar, the answer is there.

    I think Starks will stay with us cheap but i like colon better anyway, ive only heard good about Phillips who played well in preseason, i like him and okobi and Simmons battleing for center.

    Smith, Faneca, Phillips/Okobi/Simmons, Simmons/Chris K, Colon/Essex/Starks

    If Starks stays its because he likes us, i think essex will continue to backup smith and faneca on the left side.

    I think it might end up

    Smith
    Faneca
    Phillips
    Chris K
    Colon

    thats a mean right side of an oline

    IM not so sure about simmons he might be the oddman out depending on the young guys and how they play

  10. #10
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    Cardinals have Grim, Whisenhunt and a boatload of cap space!

    Quote Originally Posted by K Train View Post
    I think Starks will stay with us cheap but i like colon better anyway, ive only heard good about Phillips who played well in preseason, i like him and okobi and Simmons battleing for center.
    I would be surprised if Arizona doesn't tender Starks an offer! And he was a Russ Grimm student and fan. We'll know in a couple weeks.....March 2nd. If the Cardinals offered him more money I don't think he would hesitate to leave for Arizona! He originaly came out of Florida! He has been maligned in Pittsburgh and his starting job might even be in jeopardy........why wouldn't he jump on an offersheet for more money, a chance to reunite with Grimm, a young team on the rise with tons of talent, in a warmer climate? Would the Steeler management fight to keep him? I am not too sure they would.

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