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mesaSteeler
03-23-2009, 10:59 PM
Steelers shy away from free agents
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_617321.html?source=rss&feed=9

By Scott Brown, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, March 23, 2009

Scott Brown is the Steelers beat writer. He can be reached via e-mail. Also check out Brown's blog and Steelers Q&A.

DANA POINT, Calif. The Steelers have rarely been major players during free agency.

This year they may stay on the sidelines altogether for the signing period, which started at the end of February.

The Steelers have yet to add a player from another team to their roster, and they likely won't make any free-agent signings until after the NFL Draft at the end of April if they make any at all.

"Right now, we're really shifting away toward the draft process," director of football operations Kevin Colbert said Sunday, the first day of the NFL owners' meetings at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa. "We'll add through the draft. That's the biggest component of what we do anyway. I'm confident we're going to get some good picks."

The Steelers' focus this offseason has been keeping the team that won Super Bowl XLIII intact, and they have re-signed almost 10 of their own players, including three starters along the offensive line.

The Steelers have gotten visits from just two free agents and both players, wide receiver Joey Galloway and cornerback Chris Carr, signed elsewhere. Colbert said the Steelers may not sign any free agents.

Their top priority remains signing outside linebacker James Harrison, who is going into the final year of his contract, to a long-term deal. The Steelers are also intent on reaching an agreement on a multi-year deal with left tackle Max Starks, who signed a one-year, $8.45 million contract in February after the Steelers used a franchise tag on him to buy more negotiating time.

Colbert said he is confident the Steelers will lock up Harrison even though the two sides have yet to make a breakthrough in talks that started in February.

"Sure, we both get frustrated at the pace sometimes," Colbert said of negotiations, "but he's been great, his agent's been great in dealing with us. It's everybody's goal here, them and us, to secure James Harrison long-term. So long as we don't lose sight of that fact we'll get a deal done that's satisfactory to both sides."

The Harrison deal and possibly one with Starks have to fall into place before the Steelers start negotiating with other players that are going into the final year of their contract.

That list includes wide receiver Hines Ward, tight end Heath Miller, nose tackle Casey Hampton, defensive end Brett Keisel and free safety Ryan Clark.

"I don't know if we'll get (a deal with Harrison) done before the draft, so the draft will affect who we go after, (and) how many," Colbert said when asked which other players the Steelers would like to sign to multi-year contracts.

The Steelers are still trying to re-sign several of their own free agents, Colbert said, and the team has not ruled out bringing back both Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch.

The Steelers signed Leftwich last August after Batch was lost for the season with a broken collarbone. Each has proven to be a capable backup to starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Having both, along with second-year man Dennis Dixon behind Roethlisberger, would appear to make for a crowd at quarterback. But, Colbert said, "it would be great to have that kind of depth going into the season."

As for free agents from other teams, Colbert said the Steelers will probably re-visit the issue after teams start releasing players following the draft. Even if the Steelers do not sign a free agent, Colbert said, he is pleased with what the team has been able to accomplish since winning the Super Bowl.

"To us, it's a productive offseason," Colbert said, "keeping our own players."

tyler289
03-23-2009, 11:02 PM
Our holes didn't require free agents. Sure, we could've tried to sign a FA offensive lineman, but we can focus on the OL in the draft.

We need depth, and the draft is the best way to add cheap depth.

NEPAsteeler
03-23-2009, 11:19 PM
We didn't really lose anyone so there wasn't an imminent need to sign any FA's. I'm glad we spent the money on signing guys for depth on our roster.

OX1947
03-23-2009, 11:30 PM
90% of the Free agents since 1993 have been overpaid busts.

Steelman16
03-24-2009, 12:05 AM
We don't shy away from free agents, we just have common sense about it.

James Farrior and Ryan Clark are two extremely underrated signings that have been solid producers for the D. Mewelde Moore is another example of the Steelers in free agency.

Willie Parker and James Harrison were (undrafted) free agents too. :wink02:

SunshineMan21
03-24-2009, 12:13 AM
I would be perfectly satisfied with no free agent signings . . . our only real hole (O-line) isn't particularly easy to acquire in free agency this year. Unless we had signed Jason Brown, there really weren't reasonable options out there.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-24-2009, 01:28 AM
We don't shy away from free agents, we just have common sense about it.

James Farrior and Ryan Clark are two extremely underrated signings that have been solid producers for the D. Mewelde Moore is another example of the Steelers in free agency.



Jeff Hartings, Wayne Gandy, Nick Eason, Travis Kirschke, Kevin Greene, John L Williams, DeWayne Washington, Courtney Hawkins, Willie Williams, Justin Hartwig, Cedric Wilson.........are all examples of free agents the Steelers went out an got too.

HometownGal
03-24-2009, 10:06 AM
Jeff Hartings, Wayne Gandy, Nick Eason, Travis Kirschke, Kevin Greene, John L Williams, DeWayne Washington, Courtney Hawkins, Willie Williams, Justin Hartwig, Cedric Wilson.........are all examples of free agents the Steelers went out an got too.

And don't forget Kimo vonOelhoeffen. Though he took off for greener pastures after XL, he contributed greatly to the Steelers success that season. :thumbsup:

scsteeler
03-24-2009, 11:02 AM
I really don't see any free agents out there that the Steelers need now. I think the key focus is signing the players we have and looking toward this draft.

The_WARDen
03-24-2009, 11:32 AM
Our holes didn't require free agents. Sure, we could've tried to sign a FA offensive lineman, but we can focus on the OL in the draft.

We need depth, and the draft is the best way to add cheap depth.

hahahahaha...good one! Focusing on OL in the draft...now THAT is funny!

:rofl:

Fire Haley
03-24-2009, 11:36 AM
There one FA out there I still really want.

Byron Leftwich.

HometownGal
03-24-2009, 12:01 PM
There one FA out there I still really want.

Byron Leftwich.

^^^^^

DITTO. :thumbsup:

BlastFurnace
03-24-2009, 12:32 PM
I wouldn't mind getting Keyeron Fox back. Leftwich would be ideal though. I still can't believe he didn't even get a visit.

Dino 6 Rings
03-24-2009, 01:19 PM
Rumor is Leftwich will sign with us...

I just started that Rumor, but that's the word on my street.

Fire Haley
03-24-2009, 01:59 PM
Byron will come back if he knows what good for him.

We still signed 9 of our own FA's, everybody wants to play on a winner.

revefsreleets
03-24-2009, 02:03 PM
hahahahaha...good one! Focusing on OL in the draft...now THAT is funny!

:rofl:

Starks-Drafted
Stapleton- Drafted
Kemo- Drafted
Colon- Drafted
Essex- Drafted
Hills- Drafted

Love 'em or hate 'em, the Steelers BUILT their OL through the draft. It's not like they've ignored that facet of their offense. It's a relatively young unit, too. They'll darft some OL this year.

The_WARDen
03-24-2009, 02:04 PM
Starks-Drafted
Stapleton- Drafted
Kemo- Drafted
Colon- Drafted
Essex- Drafted
Hills- Drafted

Love 'em or hate 'em, the Steelers BUILT their OL through the draft. It's not like they've ignored that facet of their offense. It's a relatively young unit, too. They'll darft some OL this year.

correction...should have read. concentrating on serious OL in draft. My bad!

BlastFurnace
03-24-2009, 02:08 PM
Rumor is Leftwich will sign with us...

I just started that Rumor, but that's the word on my street.

Well..I'll send this link to Mike Florio at PFT. I bet he posts it.

revefsreleets
03-24-2009, 02:10 PM
I'll take that as a vote for "Hate 'em".

That's fine. They're a young unit. They'll improve. I'm interested to see Hill progression. I'm sure we'll see some Olineman taken, perhaps even early.

I, for one, am glad they didn't reach and take a tackle last year. All in all, things worked out pretty well for an organization that doesn't know as much about football as it's fans...

Fire Haley
03-24-2009, 07:31 PM
Rumor is Leftwich will sign with us...

I just started that Rumor, but that's the word on my street.

I like that rumor.

He's a lean, mean passing machine.

...and there's twice as many FA QB's out there now as open jobs. I perdict he will be back, not Batch.

It's all about The Ring.

Edman
03-24-2009, 07:58 PM
The Steelers don't shy away from Free Agents. They just aren't willing to throw several million dollars at a guy who will actually earn about a third of it.

The Steelers will go after two guys. A Role player or a guy with the right price.

Pi Kapp Steeler
03-24-2009, 10:28 PM
we should try to sign leftwich, he is a huge security blanket for Ben. I have a feelin that the Pats are gonna make a run at him.

tyler289
03-24-2009, 10:49 PM
I feel like Fox will be back. Byron could be back...if no one wants him now, who else will want him?

paw-n-maul-u
03-25-2009, 12:33 AM
This is probably the best offseason that we have had in FOREVER.

We just won a superbowl, and aren't even the favorites next year.

Sure, we haven't added anything through FA. But we kept some core ST players in tact (our ST's was beast last year in coverage. Maybe not returns, but in coverage we rocked).

We have stayed completely out of the limelight. Too much has been going on. Do you remember last year when the NYG's won the big dance? That NY media gobbled them up ALL offseason ... plus all the strahan retirement blah blah and Osi O. out for the year ... etc. etc.

I mean we have cleaned a little house, but have completely kept the line in tact (without sacraficing ANYTHING longterm)

No one has gotten in trouble with the law

James Harrison seems intent on staying here and we seem intent on keeping him.

If Max Starks gets signed long term (sorry El-Gonzo but that seems the current route) that will clear up another uncertainty.


we have so much flexibility in the draft now and we get to add NINE players ...

NINE!!!!! (add a 7th for Sean Gingerhan and the BS fifth comp pick ...should have been a 5rd) still ... at the VERY worst ... we will probably add 6 solid players

-we get back D. Sep. does anyone know what that is going to do to our ST's??????? it will be the most unheralded improvement of the year next year. goodbye mitch. good riddance.

we get a full offseason out of Sweed, Mendenhall, Moore, B. Davis, and Hills .... we had an entire redshirt year. literally.

Players like Timmons, Gay, Baker will all get a chance to contribute a lot more as well

we are in the best shape of any team in the league ... have the 4th easiest schedule, and basically just need to keep #7 @ 100% from mid DEC. on.

honestly byron leftwhich could captain us to the playoffs next year. as long as #7 is healthy for the big tourney.

Fire Haley
03-25-2009, 07:42 AM
Btw, when does FA end?

For RFAs, the period officially ends on April 18. The deadline for old clubs to exercise the Right of First Refusal to RFAs is April 24. For UFAs (including Franchise players and Transition players), who have been given a tender offer from their prior team, the period officially ends on July 22 or the first day of training camp -- whichever is later.

http://www.askthecommish.com/freeagency/faq.asp

steelerdave1969
03-25-2009, 12:33 PM
So, I wonder if the Steelers havent gotten LB James Harrison signed by draft day that means that maybe they try to get a LB early in this april's draft on day 1.?
I am kind of skeptical of what the Steelers have done in the past in Not signing some of the proven players that are already proven in the NFL and just waiting til draft day and after the draft... and they have proven me wrong so many times I am trying Not to do so anymore. I just know that the Steelers are not gonna go out there and blow a bunch of nonsense money like some other owners/teams do like the Redskins, and they still pretty much stink.

steelerdave1969
03-25-2009, 12:38 PM
we should try to sign leftwich, he is a huge security blanket for Ben. I have a feelin that the Pats are gonna make a run at him.

I really think that Byron is being smart keeping the doors open to return to the Steelers and I think the Steelers would be smart to get him back under contract to be our backup. Because he knows that at anytime that Ben could be down and he could be the starter on a Very Good Team and still have a chance at winning another super bowl tittle. Batch should be gone and I do appreciate all that he has done for the Steelers in the past, but it is just too much to have those 3 QB's and Dixon on the sidelines and I really think that the Steelers could not get away with putting Dixon on the practice squad without losing him.

BlastFurnace
03-25-2009, 01:03 PM
and they have proven me wrong so many times I am trying Not to do so anymore.

I'm with you there. I have concerns, but in the end...the past has proven to trust their direction. I think the only one I ever felt really strong about where the FO was wrong about was Rod Woodson.