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Hawaii 5-0
03-16-2013, 08:06 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

by Steelblitz

The Pittsburgh Steelers have already lost two young starters this off-season in Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis. The Steelers have also lost veterans James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall, Willie Colon and are not expected to bring back Max Starks and Casey Hampton. In the past it’s been uncommon for the Steelers to lose young talent. Instead they have typically locked up their young players and let older veterans go to make up the difference in cap space.

However, a lack of cap space and less experienced young players have caused the Steelers to lose two young starters this off-season. That same formula could cost the Steelers even more young stars to free agency a year from now.

Next off-season Emmanuel Sanders, Steve McLendon, Ziggy Hood, Jonathan Dwyer and Jason Worilds are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Sanders and McLendon could still leave this off-season as well if they get an offer on the open market as restricted free agents. The Steelers would be able to match those offers, but with their cap space being very limited they may not have room to do so.

A lack of cap space may also keep the Steelers from being able to sign any of these players to long-term deals. Pittsburgh may also be hesitant to sign any of the five to long-term deals because only Hood has been a full-time starter at any point during his career.

Sanders was the third receiver on the depth chart a year ago behind Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace. The 2012 season was his best season to date and he was supposed to see more playing time in Wallace’s absence, but rumors are that the Patriots may steal him from the Steelers in free agency.

McLendon was Casey Hampton’s back-up in 2012 and was ranked as ProFootballFocus’ top nose tackle for the 2012 season. I have argued that McLendon should have seen more playing time in 2012, but with Hampton expected to leave in free agency McLendon is expected to take over as the starter in 2013. However, like Sanders, McLendon could get an offer in restricted free agency.

Dwyer was also a restricted free agent, but he chose to sign his tender instead of testing the free agent market. Dwyer is also already in Miami for training and is hoping to be the Steelers feature back during the 2013 season. In 2012 Dwyer started at times for the Steelers and played well when the line in front of him was not banged up, but with offensive lineman going down almost every week that wasn’t very often.

As for Worilds the 2012 season was his best season so far in the NFL. Worilds saw playing time at right and left outside linebacker as he filled in for James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley who each missed time due to injuries. With Harrison now gone its next man up and that is expected to be Worilds.

So for the sake of this article we will assume that Sanders and McLendon will be back with the Steelers in 2013. Now lets assume that due to lack of cap room the Steelers will be unable to sign any of these five players to long-term deals this off-season. That would mean that each of these players would become unrestricted free agents next off-season. Right now that may not seem like a huge deal as none of the five are huge pieces of the Steelers offense or defense, but that could change.

Dwyer may win the starting running back job. Sanders could be the Steelers number two receiver behind Brown. McLendon is expected to start at nose tackle with Hampton leaving as a free agent this off-season. Hood will continue to start at defensive end and Worilds, as of now, is expected to start in place of Harrison at outside linebacker.

If the Steelers young offensive line can stay healthy and produce Dwyer could have a big season for the Steelers in the running game. In his two starts with a consistent and fairly healthy line Dwyer averaged over six yards per carry. If he can produce anywhere over four and a half yards per carry in 2013 the Steelers run game will improve dramatically.

Sanders could also see a large increase in stats and playing time if he becomes the Steelers number two receiver. McLendon should also see an increase in playing time and could drastically increase his value if he can hold down the nose tackle position for an entire sixteen game season. Hood should also have a much better season in 2013 if Woodley can stay healthy. Having a pass rusher like Woodley playing next to him should give Hood more opportunities to make plays.

Worilds, like Dwyer, could also become a big performer as he looks to step into a starting role. During the 2012 season Worilds showed strong pass rushing abilities from the left side and his stats and skills should only improve with more playing time. If he plays at a high level he could become a very attractive free agent with more teams moving to the 3-4 defense and many teams looking for outside pass rushers.

Now we will assume that these five players will see more playing time in 2013 and that they all produce at a good to high level.

If that happens the Steelers would struggle mightily to keep them all around. Many teams will be looking at Worilds and McLendon if they play well because outside linebacker and nose tackle are arguably the most important spots in the 3-4 defense.

Feature running backs are also rare and a big season by Dwyer could get him a nice payday next off-season. Hood and Sanders can also increase their value by playing at a high level as starters in 2012.

If fans think it’s been hard to watch Wallace and Lewis leave Pittsburgh next off-season could be even worse. It of course will all depend on how these players perform next season, but if they play well they might price their way of the Steelers roster. Not to mention that Brett Keisel and Ryan Clark will be free agents in 2014 and to keep these young players around the Steelers would have to cut large salaries from their salary cap. Those cuts could be Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor depending on how each player performs in 2013.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/pittsburgh_steelers_fans_could_have_a_much_worse_o ff_season_in_2014/13157797

jacobo
03-16-2013, 09:42 PM
Somebody explain to me how Dwyer, Hood and Worilds are better players than Wallace, Lewis and Harrison, please. Even if they outperform expectations, next year isn't going to hurt nearly as bad.

sloppyjoe
03-16-2013, 10:15 PM
great, if they produce well, they leave via FA. if they suck up the place we need to find replacements for them or keep them on our roster.

austinfrench76
03-16-2013, 11:14 PM
I don't understand why we don't get out in front of some of this. Meaning, why don't we secure some of these guys PRIOR to them hitting free agency. I get our cap sicth but we see it coming. From FAR away and we still don't get proactive and restructure contract, ask vets to take cits or make tough cuts prior to losing good, young guys lately. That hasn't always been the case. What the hell has changed within the organization that they aren't doing that anymore?

Hawaii 5-0
03-17-2013, 01:19 PM
NFL insider: Steelers’ sales pitch becoming harder to buy

By Alan Robinson
Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013

When coach Mike Tomlin met with backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, he gave him the traditional pitch the Steelers make to all free agents: You come to Pittsburgh to win, and not just once in a while.

“We are here to win championships,” said Gradkowski, the Dormont native. “You talk about other places, but here it's a reality.”

Only the reality for the Steelers on March 17, 2013 — six months away from their first game — is that more players are departing than arriving. The Steelers might be able to sell tradition and success and fan worshipfulness, but they're not able to buy players of substance — top-line, difference-making players — given their salary-cap straits.

“It's a challenge every year,” team president Art Rooney II said.

So who have they brought in? Gradkowski, who already has been with four teams since 2006 and certainly doesn't need a sell job to return home to Pittsburgh. William Gay, who was here before. Matt Spaeth (come Monday), who has been here before. (And you can add in Plaxico Burress, who was free to sign anywhere but chose to stay.) It's showing up on their depth chart, too. Regardless of the fact they lost five games by three points, the Steelers were an 8-8 team in 2012. And does anyone think the depth chart below signifies an upgrade?

OFFENSE

WR: Mike Wallace ($60 million deal with Dolphins) out, Emmanuel Sanders in — unless he signs an offer sheet from New England. If that happens, then Burress is a starter. Wallace has 16 touchdowns of 40 yards or more since 2009. Sanders? None.

TE: Heath Miller out, at least until he's healthy following a serious knee injury, Matt Spaeth in. Miller caught 71 passes last season. Spaeth has 49 catches in a six-year career.

LT: Max Starks out, Mike Adams (10 career games) in.

RB: Rashard Mendenhall out, who knows who's in?

DEFENSE

NT: Casey Hampton out, Steve McLendon in.

OLB: James Harrison (five Pro Bowls) out, Jason Worilds (five sacks last season) in.

CB: Keenan Lewis ($26.3 million deal with Saints) out, Cortez Allen in.

Nickel back: Allen out, William Gay in.

The Steelers' immense fan base will hear from general manager Kevin Colbert and Tomlin this week about the state of the Steelers, as both will address the media at the annual owners meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. It should be interesting.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/3655933-74/steelers-alan-ball#ixzz2NoLPpxe0

pittpete
03-17-2013, 01:25 PM
So now we aren't only overreacting to 2013, the media is starting to talk about 2014...
Gotta laugh

jacobo
03-17-2013, 01:43 PM
So now we're supposed to keep our older players for exorbitant prices and keep our younger guys out of the lineup?

fucking media, I swear

Sharkissle29
03-17-2013, 01:47 PM
Not going to lie, I am pretty concerned with the team we have right now. Way too many holes to fill that will take more than one really good draft to fix...

The_Joker
03-17-2013, 02:09 PM
So now we aren't only overreacting to 2013, the media is starting to talk about 2014...
Gotta laugh

This. I'll say it now and I'll say it forever, the media has it in for us.

pittpete
03-17-2013, 02:09 PM
Not going to lie, I am pretty concerned with the team we have right now. Way too many holes to fill that will take more than one really good draft to fix...

Can you list the "too many holes"?
The only glaring hole I see right now is RB and possibly WR & TE
Our O-line is set
D-line is set
LBers are set
Secondary is set
Remember, there are still cuts coming before the season starts.
We could always grab a guy here or there for depth.
We could come out of this draft with a whole new offense.
I'm not so worried YET:coffee:

ZoneBlitzer
03-17-2013, 02:10 PM
The article is spot on. This team is in trouble. It's down to Ben. He has to play well, lead and deliver.

SteelersCanada
03-17-2013, 02:13 PM
Oh no, Jonathan Dwyer and Jason Worilds are leaving. How are we going to replace those two?

Oh I know, draft an OLB in the first and RB in the third round this year. Done.

teegre
03-17-2013, 02:19 PM
I don't understand why we don't get out in front of some of this. Meaning, why don't we secure some of these guys PRIOR to them hitting free agency. I get our cap sicth but we see it coming. From FAR away and we still don't get proactive and restructure contract, ask vets to take cits or make tough cuts prior to losing good, young guys lately. That hasn't always been the case. What the hell has changed within the organization that they aren't doing that anymore?

In years past, Troy & Harrison got deals before they became FAs. But, with young players (who are playing for almost nothing), it can be a double-edged sword.

Think of Wallace as the best example of what's going on.

Wallace played four years for about $4 million. If the Steelers had gotten a jump-start, and signed him to a long-term deal after his second season, they'd still have him... but, not for $4 million. Thus, his cap hit for the past two years would have been in the $7 million range (as opposed to the $1 million range).

As far as Lewis goes, he didn't start until this year... and I'm sure that everyone would have complained if he had gotten an extension prior to last year. In fact, some people don't even like him NOW... so I can only imagine the ire that would have erupted if Lewis had gotten an extension last summer.

One more example: the Steelers extended AB early... and some people have ripped them for doing just that: "He hasn't proven anything yet!!!" In other words, when the Steelers do indeed sign guys early... they get ripped.

Ripped if you do. Ripped if you don't. Steelers fans are always going to be angry about something.

Steeldude
03-17-2013, 02:20 PM
What's going to hurt is the restructured contracts. Isn't Woodley around a $14,000,000+ cap hit in 2014?

WVABE
03-17-2013, 03:25 PM
Football would be so much better without these contracts and the players were paid according to their actions on the field. I despise seeing these huge contacts.

patsfaninpittsburgh
03-17-2013, 03:39 PM
I don't understand why we don't get out in front of some of this. Meaning, why don't we secure some of these guys PRIOR to them hitting free agency. I get our cap sicth but we see it coming. From FAR away and we still don't get proactive and restructure contract, ask vets to take cits or make tough cuts prior to losing good, young guys lately. That hasn't always been the case. What the hell has changed within the organization that they aren't doing that anymore?

"Getting ahead" requires the correct time frame.

Belichick started prepping for the 2009/10 Patriot rebuild as far back as 2002. ( The team that went 14-2 in 2010 had over half the snaps taken by rookies and second year players)

That requires active trading on draft day with regard to picks. The Steelers are actually one of the few teams that are steadfast in staying at their draft slots.

Would Colbert trade a 2009 Seymour to realize a LT in Nate Solder in 2011?

Had Steeler management made the decision to "get ahead" many veterans would have needed to be traded to reload. This would heve been in post 2010/2011.

If management feels the window isn't closed....the trades don't happen.

cowherpower
03-17-2013, 04:29 PM
I don't understand why we don't get out in front of some of this. Meaning, why don't we secure some of these guys PRIOR to them hitting free agency. I get our cap sicth but we see it coming. From FAR away and we still don't get proactive and restructure contract, ask vets to take cits or make tough cuts prior to losing good, young guys lately. That hasn't always been the case. What the hell has changed within the organization that they aren't doing that anymore?

could be that they just aren't good enough. Not one of those five mentioned, or Lewis who we just lost, ever have shown me they deserve long term contracts. Do they deserve it? Steelers didn't seem to care that Lewis left. They don't seem to care much if Sanders or McLendon walk either. I am sure they'd be happy to get draft picks in losing them. I honestly think Worilds won't even be the player Haggans was. Just another guy imho. McLendon seems like he is more suited to be in a 4-3. It's a deep WR draft, I am sure they feel they can replace Sanders. I am a huge pessimist but I can sort of see what they are doing in this transition. They probably are trying to remain somewhat competitive for next year but they don't possibly have thoughts of the playoffs. So everything they are doing is ensuring we don't have a total meltdown, but are primed for 2014 and beyond. I believe in Colbert. He's done it a couple of times before.

FrancoLambert
03-17-2013, 04:49 PM
Can you list the "too many holes"?
The only glaring hole I see right now is RB and possibly WR & TE
Our O-line is set
D-line is set
LBers are set
Secondary is set
Remember, there are still cuts coming before the season starts.
We could always grab a guy here or there for depth.
We could come out of this draft with a whole new offense.
I'm not so worried YET:coffee:

O-line and D-lines are set. Really? I see more ?'s that have not been answered on both fronts.
LB's are set? Woodley could be fine if he regains his All-Pro form.
Aging Foote's back too. Losing Harrison won't hurt much. His replacement is set. Spence may be gone
Secondary is set. No problem that we probably lost our best young CB.
You didn't mention WR but I'll add it. Can't afford to lose Sanders otherwise it becomes an urgent need.
There are "too many holes."

Sharkissle29
03-17-2013, 04:55 PM
Can you list the "too many holes"?
The only glaring hole I see right now is RB and possibly WR & TE
Our O-line is set
D-line is set
LBers are set
Secondary is set
Remember, there are still cuts coming before the season starts.
We could always grab a guy here or there for depth.
We could come out of this draft with a whole new offense.
I'm not so worried YET:coffee:

I always keep in mind depth, bc you know as well as i do, our players get injured pretty frequently...

Needs :
RB
WR
TE
OLB - only have one with a proven track record that was disappointing last year
ILB - Foote is a backup LB at best but is forced to start for us

Depth
OL - always injured, no depth here
DL - could be a need as it is EXTREMELY unproven
S - no one proven behind starters

OX1947
03-17-2013, 05:36 PM
Somebody explain to me how Dwyer, Hood and Worilds are better players than Wallace, Lewis and Harrison, please. Even if they outperform expectations, next year isn't going to hurt nearly as bad.

They arent.

BowCatShot
03-17-2013, 05:46 PM
I don't understand why we don't get out in front of some of this. Meaning, why don't we secure some of these guys PRIOR to them hitting free agency. I get our cap sicth but we see it coming. From FAR away and we still don't get proactive and restructure contract, ask vets to take cits or make tough cuts prior to losing good, young guys lately. That hasn't always been the case. What the hell has changed within the organization that they aren't doing that anymore?

What's changed is we've got a friggin lawyer(art 2) running things now.

TRH
03-17-2013, 05:59 PM
We definitely need to start "getting out in front of this".

People think if we just slide in below the salary cap, we're doing fine. Thats NOT fine, because then there are raises and huge raises, etc. Couple that with some sub-par players and players past their prime, its a disaster recipe.
I don't want to be in "just under cap" anymore. Look at teams like the Giants, Colts, 49ers, and even the Patriots - millions and millions and millions under the cap. We need to get under and get well under.
I think our front office does a good job, but certainly not as good as the reputation they have by the rose-colored glasses wearers.

TRH
03-17-2013, 06:03 PM
O-line and D-lines are set. Really? I see more ?'s that have not been answered on both fronts.
There are "too many holes."



O-line should be set if we can keep these guys we have UN-injured for once.

D-line is questionable at best. I'm interested to see how McLendon will play out. The team doesn't appear to be as high on him as the fans. Heyward's time is NOW to step it up. Hood is a mystery - showed sporadic signs of excellence, but has been more disappointing than excelling.
What we don't have on our DL that we desperately, desperately need - is that BEAST, ultra-strong, fast, monster. We definitely have a hole or 2 here.