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mesaSteeler
02-01-2010, 06:16 AM
http://www.observer-reporter.com/www/sidelines/index.html
NFL from the sidelines
Monday, February 01, 2010
F. Dale Lolley, the Observer-Reporter's veteran Steelers beat reporter, provides an inside view for Pittsburgh and the rest of the National Football League.

Looking at free agent skill positions

As I do every offseason, I’ll take a look over the next few weeks at the Steelers’ potential free agents and possible veteran replacements or upgrades.

Keep in mind that the Steelers have never been major players on the free agent market. So no matter how much you want them to go out and sign say, Terrell Owens, it’s not going to happen.

This week, we’ll take a look at the skill positions, QB/WR/RB

Steelers potential losses

Charlie Batch, QB
Willie Parker, RB
Joey Galloway, WR
Carey Davis, FB

As you can see, there’s not a lot here – other than Parker – that cannot be replaced.

Galloway was a late-season replacement for Limas Sweed – more on him later – who never saw action in a game, while Batch made it through just a handful of plays before suffering a broken left wrist while replacing Ben Roethlisberger in an overtime loss at Kansas City. He was subsequently passed by Dennis Dixon as the team’s No. 2 quarterback.

The team thought so little of Davis, meanwhile, that he was released at the end of training camp, only to be re-signed later in the year.

Losing Parker will be a blow. And it’s almost guaranteed that Parker will not return. He told me after the team’s regular season finale at Miami that he still considers himself a starter and wants to go to a team that will give him that opportunity. It won’t happen in Pittsburgh, where Rashard Mendenhall has taken on that role.

The Steelers would like to have Parker return as a backup to Mendenhall, but realize that’s not likely and won’t make much of an effort to do so.

And they won’t go into next season with Mewelde Moore as the only backup to Mendenhall. That could mean that Isaac Redman or Frank Summers will get that opportunity. But the Steelers could also dip into the free agent market in an attempt to find a promising young back with low mileage as they did with Moore two years ago.

Complicating matter is the unsettled status of the collective bargaining agreement, which could take a number of unrestricted free agents and make them restricted.

Among players who could interest the Steelers who would revert to restricted status include Leon Washington of the Jets, John Kuhn of the Packers and Mike Bell of the Saints.

Former Seattle fullback Justin Griffith could be a possibility as a more dangerous version of Davis and tight end/fullback David Johnson. The Steelers like Johnson’s blocking and feel he’ll improve greatly in that role in his second season, but he’s not much of an offensive threat.

While Summers will again get the opportunity to compliment Johnson, the 6-0, 230-pound Griffith, who turns 30 in June, is an accomplished receiver out of the backfield in addition to being a capable – though not great – lead blocker. Griffith has 141 career receptions for 989 yards and 12 touchdowns.

At quarterback, the Steelers could bring Batch back for at least one more season. He’s well-liked in the locker room and helps mentor both Roethlisberger and Dixon.

The problem is that Dixon’s contract is up at the end of the 2010 season - though he will be an exclusive rights free agent, meaning the Steelers will be able to keep him. But we don’t know at this point what changes a new collective bargaining agreement will bring.

The Steelers may want to look for a little more long-term stability.

Though the team will likely sign at least one rookie free agent following the draft, a veteran such as Patrick Ramsey or Brian St. Pierre could be brought in to serve as a more long-term solution as a third quarterback.

Finally, the team expects Sweed to be back for a critical third season now that the “personal issues” he dealt with at the end of last season are behind him.

I know that many people are down on Sweed, but keep in mind that the third season is often a big one for wide receivers, particularly big ones who got by on their athletic talent and size in college.

Witness Sidney Rice’s explosion this season with the Vikings. Yes, Rice benefited from the addition of Brett Favre, but he was a player who struggled catching the ball in his first two seasons, hauling in just 46 passes in his first two seasons. People considered the former second-round pick a bust.

He caught 83 passes for more than 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns this season. I’m not suggesting that Sweed will catch 80 passes in 2010, but he will be given every chance to prove that he’s not a competent NFL wide receiver.

With Sweed, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace and youngster Tyler Grisham returning, it’s unlikely the Steelers will sign a veteran wideout off the free agent market.

posted by Dale Lolley at 12:39 AM 0 Comments Links to this post

JPbucco
02-01-2010, 08:43 AM
I think the Steelers will sign a RB, Ryan Moats and Jerrious Norwood are a couple of guys who might be in their price range.

steelerdave1969
02-01-2010, 12:59 PM
I liked Kuhn and all at FB, but dont see the Steelers going back after someone they just let go. I really think that Moats will be wanting more than a back up role as well, I think he has shown flashes of being a nice starter somewhere. I wanted the Steelers to take Shonne Greene last april.. what that might have turned out to be huh?...

SCSTILLER
02-01-2010, 02:34 PM
Alot of going after players we had at one point in time. I liked Kuhn, thought with a little more work would have been a capable backup, as did the Packers.

I really, really hope he is spot on with Sweed. Sweed, Ward, Holmes, and Wallace lining up on third down together (an improved Sweed that is) will be a nightmare for defenses to cover.

steeltheone
02-01-2010, 02:51 PM
Sweed has not done anything close to proving he should be on an NFL roster.
Running Backs are a dime a dozen for a backup.
Dixon could end up being trade bait.

pancake
02-01-2010, 04:17 PM
Alot of going after players we had at one point in time. I liked Kuhn, thought with a little more work would have been a capable backup, as did the Packers.

I really, really hope he is spot on with Sweed. Sweed, Ward, Holmes, and Wallace lining up on third down together (an improved Sweed that is) will be a nightmare for defenses to cover.

:thumbsup:

rich4eagle
02-01-2010, 04:33 PM
Ever think about getting Brandon Marshall,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,may be a big fit for a team transitioning to the new NFL..................screw defense is the current rule

Northside Jonny
02-01-2010, 05:47 PM
Dixon could end up being trade bait.[/I][/B]

I hate the fact that Dixon is not seeing the feild more . This guy has wheels and is a better passer than Randle El . What happened to all the trickery. He should at least be out there for 10 plays a game even if Ben is out there at the same time . This is another reason i hate Arians he doesn't utilize all of the talent available to him. I sure hope we don't trade him ,and let some other team utilize his skills to beat us.
As far as free agents I like. Jerome Harrison , Kevin Faulk , and Darren Sproles . These guys are all very good and would fit well i think but they will fetch to much money and are probably not realistic. Would be nice though. Looks like we will fill this need via the draft.

Chidi29
02-01-2010, 06:00 PM
Ever think about getting Brandon Marshall,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,may be a big fit for a team transitioning to the new NFL..................screw defense is the current rule

We'd likely have to trade for Marshall.

JPbucco
02-01-2010, 06:10 PM
We'd likely have to trade for Marshall.

Ya think?

Chidi29
02-01-2010, 07:57 PM
Ya think?

Probably. Figure they'll at least slap a tender on him so they can work out a deal or so they can get compensation if a team puts an offer on him.

HughC
02-01-2010, 08:00 PM
Expect to see a whole lot less free agent signings this year. There's pretty much no way a new CBA is agreed upon in the next 32 days. That means it's going to take six years of service time to be an unrestricted free agent rather than four years - which means there will be about 250 less unrestricted free agents.

And though it's an uncapped year, my guess is that a lot of owners won't be spending a lot for a few reasons. For one, if they spend like crazy it will come back to bite them in the CBA negotiations. Second, with or without a salary cap the owners still have budgets. Third, many owners may hold back in spending in anticipation of a possible lockout in 2011. And fourth, a lot of owners are going to use 2010 to dump salary - no salary floor along with no salary cap - in order to increase profits. And fifth, that means less teams bidding for players, which means more players will stay put.

devilsdancefloor
02-01-2010, 08:50 PM
marshall is TO jr NO way the steelers go after that cancer.

markymarc
02-03-2010, 10:27 AM
I would like to see the Steelers pursue Leon Washington from the Jets.