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mesaSteeler
02-09-2011, 10:04 AM
What Should the Steelers Do With Aaron Smith?
Posted on February 8, 2011 by adam
http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/02/steelers-aaron-smith/

Aaron Smith has played 156 games over 12 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers since being selected in the fourth-round of the 1999 draft. Heís been a workhorse in their 3-4 defense and a vital cog in a system that requires him to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the team (though, thatís probably a cliche at this point regarding what he does, but it doesnít make it any less true). As we sit today, heís been one of the best all-around defensive ends in the NFL, a two-time Super Bowl Champion, and by nearly all accounts, one of the good guys.

Unfortunately, thereís also this harsh reality: heís played in just 38 of a possible 71 games (playoffs included) over the past four seasons, and 11 of 35 over the past two. That leads to the inevitable questions of how much the Steelers can rely on him next season, and is it perhaps time to part ways with a player thatís been one of the best at his position over the past decade?

In past years, Smithís absence led to grim results for the Steelers defense, as the bottom fell out of the run defense in 2007, resulting in Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor destroying them in two separate games at Heinz Field (including a playoff game), and a 9-7 mark in 2009, one year removed from a Super Bowl victory. This season, however, the Steelers defense, particularly its historically dominant run defense, never missed a beat, and thatís due in large part to the development of 2009 first-round pick Ziggy Hood. He had to grow up on the job, and he did just that.

I think, when healthy, Smith can still be a high-level player in the Steelers defense. But you also know the saying: itís better to let a player go a year early as opposed to a year late. Smithís replacement is already on the roster (Ziggy Hood) and ready for his opportunity to shine, while the Steelers still have Brett Keisel on the other side of the line and a capable backup thatís also steadily improved the past couple of years in Nick Eason. Depth beyond that might be an issue, but no more of an issue than it was this season, and itís something that can always be addressed in free agency (whenever that happens) and the draft.

The other option, other than simply keeping him at his current salary or releasing him, is to see if Smith would be willing to come back at a reduced salary, but thatís something that needs to be a mutual decision. Both sides have to want it.

Itís a tough call, but one thatís going to have to be made at some point.

cloppbeast
02-09-2011, 10:13 AM
This is a sad reality......

I think Hines may be in the same boat.

The fact of the matter is, we can't resign Ike, Woodley, Timmons, and Colon without making some of these tough decisions.

Atlanta Dan
02-09-2011, 10:26 AM
It's a business - the Titans canned a coach undergoing cancer treatments - Vets have taken pay cuts in the past - Bettis took a reduced salary his last several years but Bettis wanted a ring and had endorsement deals going in Pittsburgh that would have dried up if he had quit in 2003 (it is easy to forget with the great last two seasons he had in Pittsburgh which made him beloved that Bettis was out of shape in 2002 and had lost his job to Zeroue in the awful 2003 season).

Smith has his rings and I assume no endorsement deals to lose so he could retire rather than take the haircut on his salary that I think is required to fit him in to next year's team - unlike 2007 the run defense did not collapse without him so he does not have a great amount of leverage

Ward had a great Super Bowl and apparently was dinged up most of the year - he will be back

Colon is iffy since he is still rehabbing from what can be a career ending injury - a lockout will hurt Colon by him being deprived of access to the facilities and it being more difficult for the Steelers to assess his recovery during what used to be called th offseason

Merchant
02-09-2011, 11:20 AM
How much is Smith due to make next season exactly?

pete74
02-09-2011, 11:46 AM
if we cant afford to sign woodley or taylor because of smith's pay then i would cut him. he has always been my favorite steeler but its a business

steelerchad
02-09-2011, 01:04 PM
Smith will be cut, unless he takes a huge pay cut as a rotational player. I would like this scenario, but not sure he will. Hines, they may let slide 1 more year.

Steelers>NFL
02-09-2011, 01:11 PM
Smith will be cut, unless he takes a huge pay cut as a rotational player. I would like this scenario, but not sure he will. Hines, they may let slide 1 more year.

Exactly my thoughts.
Ziggy played well enough to keep the starting job.
It makes it that much easier to cut Smith or reduce his salary.

Curtain_of_Steel
02-09-2011, 01:31 PM
Ziggy played "well enough"? Ziggy has played great through the 2nd half of the season and through the playoffs.

definately makes it very easy to to cut Smith. Now I don't think they will cut him, but a restructuring is in order. Smith has become to fragile and Ziggy is here to stay! I do not see a team taking a flier on smith for more than a million with bonus's.

We can do that here. I think his veteran leadership and in a rotation of sorts will be valuable.
Smith is due 4.5mill in 2011, not happening.

http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/642/player?r=1

Curtain_of_Steel
02-09-2011, 01:33 PM
Timmons has another left at $650.00, so we do not have to worry about tomorrow when we have today to deal with. Besides the Steelers won't touch Timmons deal yet.

blackandgoldsc
02-09-2011, 03:14 PM
Why cut him instead of trade him? If we could get a mid round pick for him, I think that would be better than nothing. Look at what Antonio Brown did for us this year as an example of a mid round pick.

Steelers>NFL
02-09-2011, 03:20 PM
Why cut him instead of trade him? If we could get a mid round pick for him, I think that would be better than nothing. Look at what Antonio Brown did for us this year as an example of a mid round pick.
I love this idea. But that is not the Steeler way.
This is where Belichick & the Pats are smart, they trade there players and load up on draft picks. Say what you want about him and the team, but the man is smart.