Why register with the Steelers Fever Forums?
 • Intelligent and friendly discussions.
 • It's free and it's quick. Always.
 • Enter events in the forums calendar.
 • Very user friendly software.
 • Exclusive contests and giveaways.

 Donate to Steelers Fever, Click here
 Our 2013 Goal: $400.00 - To Date: $00.00 (00.00%)
 Home | Forums | Editorials | Shop | Tickets | Downloads | Contact Pittsburgh Steelers Forum Feed Not Just Fans. Hardcore Fans.

Go Back   Steelers Fever Forums > Steelers Football > Pittsburgh Steelers


Steelers Fever Fan Shop

Doc's Sports Get FREE NFL Picks and College Football picks as well as Football Lines like live NFL Lines and updated NFL Power Rankings all at Doc's Sports Service.

Steelers Steelers - Bills Bills
August 16th, 2014, 7:30pmET

CBS
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 09-29-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
Hawaii 5-0
Armchair QB
Supporter
 
Hawaii 5-0's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: The Aloha State
Posts: 8,817
Gender: Male
Member Number: 24013
Thanks: 7,594
Thanked 10,018 Times in 4,288 Posts
My Mood: Happy
Default The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

The Steelers Defense, Impending Reconstruction, Potential Roster Moves, And The Future

Sep 29th, 2012 at 6:30 am by Dominic Di Tolla



To repair the absolute “casserole of monetary and personnel madness” known as the Defense, a significant “Extreme Make-Over: Steelers Roster Edition” must happen sooner as opposed to later. To do this, I believe that General Manager Kevin Colbert and the rest of Pittsburgh’s Front Office must (and likely will) be proactive in their efforts to rebuild their roster and restructure their payroll accordingly in the very near future. I hate to be “That Guy,” but like it or not “Steeler Nation,” if this Defense is going to get any younger, let alone any better from a talent perspective, some roster purging and difficult decisions could definitely do this team good in the short and long runs.

Chopping Block After This Season (UFA’s)

Casey Hampton, Ryan Mundy, Keenan Lewis, and Larry Foote


It will break my heart the moment that “Big Snack” is no longer a member of the Steelers. As one of the best 0-Technique Nose Tackles to play during the ’00′s, Hampton has been a model of consistency and effort out on the football field for 13 seasons. Unfortunately for “Snack,” his age (36 next season), the cheap depth already at the Nose Tackle position (Steve McLendon and Alameda Ta’amu), and his upcoming status as a UFA could all be working against him come this offseason when his contract expires. Thus, the cash-strapped Steelers will be unlikely to afford Hampton next season unless he accepts an enormous pay-cut. Yet even if Hampton is willing to accept a lower salary, one must question whether or not Pittsburgh will carry three Nose Tackles on their roster in 2013..

Keenan Lewis’ Pro Bowl rhetoric before the season started seems like a distant memory after the first three weeks. It also has not helped that Lewis has been inconsistent over the course of his career in Pittsburgh, and done little to completely win the starting Cornerback job opposite Ike Taylor outright (only 1 INT in 3+ seasons) by his 4th season in the League. To me, if this team did not re-sign William Gay last offseason, the odds are they will not re-up Lewis come 2013 if he is looking for a new or expensive deal deal.

In addition to Lewis, Safety Ryan Mundy has been inconsistent at best over his five year career with the team, and has done little during his opportunities to start (especially the Denver Wild Card Game) to illustrate that he deserves to be resigned to a long-term deal once the season ends. The “#1 Backup” at both Safety spots might be out of the job in 2013 due to his poor performances during the first three Weeks of the 2012 season, and will/should be allowed to walk when the offseason begins for more cap space.

I am not necessarily on the “Cut Larry Foote” bandwagon like some people currently are, and have been over the last two years. At least to me, Foote has done a more than adequate job replacing James Farrior this season (23 Tackles team-lead, and 1.0 Sack), has chipped in on Special Teams, and probably has the best understanding of Dick LeBeau’s Defense of anybody currently on the team. Foote’s overall performance in 2012 has indicated two things: a) he has produced when out on the football field, and b) he has actually played like he wants to wear a Steelers uniform for another season or two. The soon to be 33 year-old UFA is earning a $3 million dollar base salary this season, and will probably not be offered that kind of money by the cash-strapped Front Office. Regardless, the Steelers might be willing to re-sign him for another year or two at a lower rate, and that would be an acceptable and sensible move if he took a pay-cut. If not, Foote could and probably will be on his way out of town after this season ends.

Possible Trades

Ziggy Hood and Jason Worilds


Both Hood and Worilds will be UFA’s after the 2013 season, and both have yet to truly make the impacts that most 1st and 2nd Round picks usually do over their first four seasons in the League. Hood, the team’s 2009 1st Round selection, has done an adequate job over his career and even started 19 games. Yet Hood’s productivity (5.5 Sacks and 67 Tackles) has shown nothing to indicate that he is worthy of a second contract with the club, and a long-term starter at the Defensive End position. Worilds on the other hand has been nagged by injuries for most of his N.F.L. career, and has yet to realize the full potential (6.0 Sacks and 47 Tackles) the franchise thought he had when they selected the former Hokie in the 2nd Round of the 2010 Draft.

As inconsistent as Worilds and Hood have been, they are still young players (Hood 26 and Worilds 25 in 2013) and could generate some interest from teams willing to take a gamble on them. Hood (a better fit for a 4-3 Defense anyway) could be sought after by teams in need of a 3-Technique, which can play a 1-Technique in a pinch. There might even be some teams interested in adding a spot-starter and solid 5-Technique for their 3-4 rotation as well. If there is any team willing to give up a 4th or 5th Round pick on Hood, the Steelers would be wise to at least consider a trade. Worilds could find a potential home with some teams looking to bolster their pass-rush and are in need of depth at the Outside Linebacker position. New York (Jets), Indianapolis, Miami, Arizona, or San Diego all could be willing partners, and could even be coaxed to spend a 5th to 6th Round pick on the Rush Linebacker.

Chopping Block in 2014, 2015, or Even After This Season?

In addition to the players I mentioned above, the Steelers will also need to make some big decisions after the 2013 season ends (or even after this season) on even more of their veteran players. While these guys are veterans and are signed through the 2014 season, their contracts and the allotted amounts of money and time they extend over, will put Colbert & Co. in some very difficult positions in the future.

Granted, these numbers (via spotrac.com) below only take into account the player’s contract, roster bonus, and signing bonus values. They do not fully discuss how much each player would fully count against the salary cap if they were released, and when they are inevitably released, traded, or allowed to finish out their contracts with the Steelers. Furthermore, these numbers have not taken into account the future restructuring and possible offseason work by the “Restructuring Wizard” Omar Khan. Nevertheless, I thought it would be not only interesting to illustrate how much money is/has been dedicated to some players on the Defensive side of the ball, but also show which players’ could be victims of a “salary cap purge.”

2014 UFA’s

While the players I discuss below will be UFA’s after the 2013 season, their price tags might be too high for the Steelers to keep if they are unwilling to negotiate or their play drops off significantly this season. While the Front Office does have valid reasons to keep both players until they become UFA’s, it would not shock me if they were gone before next season started in an effort to save money and get younger on Defense. What I can say though is that it is almost a certainty that both players will not be members of the “Black & Gold” come the start of the 2014 regular season as their current contracts will have expired and probably will not be retained.

Brett Keisel

2013: (Due $2.825 Million Base Salary, $1.675 Million Sign. Bonus)

As I discussed above, the team would be better off trying to trade Hood and keeping Brett Keisel for one last go around with the team. Especially since they could possibly receive in return for Hood, as opposed to nothing if they kept keeping both around for the duration of their deals and letting both walk for free. In spite of his age (35 in 2013), Keisel would be a nice bridge to build the gap from “old” to “new” along the Defensive Line. 5-Technique “bridge” aside, Keisel’s play and recent injuries have to be taken into account in regards to him sticking around after the 2013 season if his contract demands are not within the Steelers’ price-range during said period.

Ryan Clark

2013: (Due $3.5 Million Base Salary, $750,000 Sign. Bonus, $500,000 Misc. Bonus)
To be perfectly frank, I was against the Steelers’ decision to bring Ryan Clark back after the 2009 season ended. He was exposed at times when Troy Polamalu was injured in 2009, has been a 15-yard penalty machine at times with his hits, can be a sloppy tackler, and has had his fair share of issues with his ball-skills. Now that the contract I alluded to above is nearing its expiration, the team will have to yet again make another decision on Clark’s future after the 2013 season ends. By the time the 2014 rolls around, Clark will be nearing 35 years of age, and who knows what kind of productivity the team will get from him then. Thus, even if the Steelers do decide to keep him after this season and do not cut him, Colbert & Co. might want to consider either drafting a Safety or two early, finding an under-the-radar and cheap Free Agent option like Clark was back in 2006, or giving a player like Robert Golden a shot. Still, like Keisel, from a depth perspective the Steelers would be wise to wait and just let Clark’s contract expire after next season ends and go from there.

2015 UFA’s

In spite of the fact that both of the players I discuss below will be UFA’s in 2015, reasons exist why Colbert & Co. might be willing to part ways with these veterans before their contracts expire due to health and monetary reasons. While the cap hits could be large, the Steelers might save some money and cap space in the long-term by parting ways with these two players sooner as opposed to later.

James Harrison:

2013: (Due $6.570 Million Base Salary, $2 Million Sign Bonus, $1.465 Misc. Bonus)
2014: (Due $7.575 Million Base Salary, $1.465 Misc. Bonus)

Like “Snack,” I will hate to see James Harrison leave, but at this point in his career it might be finally time to let go of one of the best pass rushers in franchise history. Hindsight is 20/20, but if the Steelers were smart, they would have cut Harrison after the 2011 season due to his mounting health issues. Now it appears they will have to keep him on until 2015 unless they want to take a large cap hit and end the marriage after this season. In Harrison’s defense, I am sure that the former UDFA would not have been out on the field lolleygagging like some of the higher-paid players on this Defense have done over the season’s first three weeks. Over his entire career, Harrison has absolutely “brought it” on a weekly basis, and will always be revered in this fanbase for his tenacity and ferociousness. From an economic and a football perspective though, it would be an unwise venture if this team kept Harrison around after this season without a monster pay-cut from him.

Ike Taylor:

2013: (Due $6 Million Base Salary, $1.8125 Million Sign. Bonus, $1.641666 Million Misc. Bonus)
2014: (Due $7 Million Base Salary, $1.8125 Million Sign. Bonus, $1.641666 Million Misc. Bonus)

Ike Taylor’s contract situation is completely indicative of why I thought the team should have franchised him last year and let LaMarr Woodley test the Free Agent waters and subsequently walk in the Summer of 2011. The Steelers instead gave Taylor a deal through the 2014 season. What they should have done was re-up Taylor on for one more season with the franchise tag, assessed how well he performed last year, and saved a boat-load of money by letting Woodley walk. While I am not “Screamin’” A. Smith, and will thus not constantly harp on Taylor’s performance against the Broncos in last season’s Wild Card Game, I think we can all agree that Taylor has definitely seen better days before the last two seasons. Granted, Taylor might be the #1 Cornerback on this team, but he will be 33 when next season rolls around and making $6 million in just his base salary. If Taylor’s play declines, the Steelers might be encouraged to part ways with Taylor to create some cap space for the future.

Final Thoughts

While not all of these moves I discussed above will happen, it would not shock me if at least 70% of the guys I discussed above were not wearing the Black & Gold by the start of the 2013 season. Furthermore, I would not be surprised if 90%-100% of them were gone by the time the 2014 season rolled around. In addition to rebuilding the Defense though, money must also be saved and cap space must increase. And I am sure that the Steelers could use some extra cap space saved to spend to re-sign their better and younger players (especially on Offense), multiple Draft Picks on the Defensive side of the ball, or even some Free Agents during these “rebuilding years.” So while Khan’s job is to play “Salary Cap Tetris,” the idea of waiting for the Salary Cap to go up over the coming years is a “prolonging the inevitable financial doom” type of strategy if proactive steps are not taken.

Do not kid yourselves readers, a reconstruction effort by this Front Office will not be a quick-fix task, and the play on the field during said reconstruction will not be easy to watch at times either. Still, if the Steelers are going to get any better and field a competitive Defense during the prime seasons of Big Ben’s career, the Defensive issues must be seen to and eliminated. Luckily for the franchise and us fans, the Steelers have the correct people in their Front Office to make some positive moves and return this Defense to glory.

http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/09/29...-of-2013-2014/
__________________
Hawaii 5-0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2012, 08:31 PM   #2
SteelerJay
Draft Prospect
 

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 98
Member Number: 16041
Thanks: 4
Thanked 29 Times in 15 Posts
Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

I'm glad you're not our personnel guy. You're wrong on Foote, Clarke, Hood and Keisel.
SteelerJay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2012, 12:10 AM   #3
tony hipchest
IRONMAN a.k.a. Tony Stark
 
tony hipchest's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Give me back my game...
Posts: 38,504
Member Number: 658
Thanks: 1,603
Thanked 6,694 Times in 2,899 Posts
Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

we dont even play our 4th game for another week...

the writer should just take a deep breath and relax.
__________________
tony hipchest is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2012, 05:51 AM   #4
Rick5895
Team President
 
Rick5895's Avatar
 

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: St.Thomas, ontario , canada
Posts: 2,136
Gender: Male
Member Number: 5148
Thanks: 21
Thanked 33 Times in 22 Posts
Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

I do agree on Hood. If we were in a 4-3 he would be a very good , if not great, 3 technique DT, but we aren't and Hood struggles at times. If we could somehow get a 3rd round pic for him (or higher) I'd trade him.
While Foote's coverage skills aren't the best he is providing solid play. We saw how important Clark is to this D when he missed the Broncos game. I think right now Keisel is facing the same problems that Woodley faces. He gets more pressure because of a lack of presence from the other side.
I had a feeling that Sean Spence was going to be special and his injury really hurt this D. We have a problem that most teams want to have. We seem to be always in the mix for a division or conference title, that makes our draft spot low first round, difficult to draft impact defensive back drafting in the 20's.
Hopefully we can go get a quality safety in this years draft.
Rick5895 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2012, 09:35 AM   #5
FrancoLambert
Head Coach
 
FrancoLambert's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: tony soprano's neighborhood
Posts: 1,939
Gender: Male
Member Number: 20827
Thanks: 1,814
Thanked 1,536 Times in 804 Posts
My Mood: Hot
Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

Extreme Makeover seems a bit extreme.
No doubt changes are necessary and the jury is still out on several of the players he mentioned.
But honestly, Hood and Worilds have not validated themselves as high picks.
Lewis seems adequate at best from what I've seen.
As for Casey, this has to be his last year.
Keisel is on the downside.
Mundy should be gone.
He didn't even mention Sylvester.....what does he bring to the team?
We do have a lot of questions on defense that need answers.
FrancoLambert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2012, 10:43 AM   #6
mikegrimey
Assistant Coach
 

Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,015
Member Number: 15679
Thanks: 0
Thanked 162 Times in 101 Posts
Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick5895 View Post
I do agree on Hood. If we were in a 4-3 he would be a very good , if not great, 3 technique DT, but we aren't and Hood struggles at times. If we could somehow get a 3rd round pic for him (or higher) I'd trade him.
While Foote's coverage skills aren't the best he is providing solid play. We saw how important Clark is to this D when he missed the Broncos game. I think right now Keisel is facing the same problems that Woodley faces. He gets more pressure because of a lack of presence from the other side.
I had a feeling that Sean Spence was going to be special and his injury really hurt this D. We have a problem that most teams want to have. We seem to be always in the mix for a division or conference title, that makes our draft spot low first round, difficult to draft impact defensive back drafting in the 20's.
Hopefully we can go get a quality safety in this years draft.
In what fantasy world do you see a team offering a 3rd round (or higher) for a DT who's not exceptional? That's just pure delusion
mikegrimey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2012, 02:42 PM   #7
defence
Bench Warmer
 

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 355
Member Number: 19128
Thanks: 174
Thanked 74 Times in 52 Posts
Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

I can see some major changes coming. Let's face it. To have a dominant 3 4 defence; you need outstanding linebackers. Bad drafting; age has really caught up to the Steelers. So Hood is a better 4 3 lineman. You give up on a young first rounder to keep Keisel. C'mon. I believe they will switch when Lebau is gone. guys like Timmons; Hood are all 4 3 guys. I think there is a plan in place. I may be wrong; but tomlin is a 4 3 guy and I believe he will go to it eventually.
defence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
TRH
Living Legend
 
TRH's Avatar
 

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: eastern PA
Posts: 4,391
Gender: Male
Member Number: 17206
Thanks: 98
Thanked 222 Times in 155 Posts
Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

Like it - or don't like it : the fact is that big changes are a-comin'. NO....question.....about it.
I think some people are delusional or on something. Its as if they think we'll be keeping all of 'em.
While this writer will miss the mark on some of this....he will nail a few of these too....and a couple might be surprises.
At this point, i can't sit down and "guess" about everyone and who will be gone and who won't be. But i do think that we will make some moves after the year is over that will no doubt shock many.
TRH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2012, 04:45 PM   #9
tyler289
Team Captain
 
tyler289's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 704
Member Number: 9049
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

Why would the team trade Hood or Worilds? They are both young and, at the very worst, adequate NFL players who could still improve. Hood especially is valuable considering our lack of DL depth. At the very worst, he's an average starter. You don't just dump that for a 4th/5th round pick. We need any youth/potential on this defense that we can get. Hood is what, one of three starters on defense (Woodley, Timmons) south of 30?
tyler289 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2012, 05:36 PM   #10
Hawaii 5-0
Armchair QB
Supporter
 
Hawaii 5-0's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: The Aloha State
Posts: 8,817
Gender: Male
Member Number: 24013
Thanks: 7,594
Thanked 10,018 Times in 4,288 Posts
My Mood: Happy
Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Extreme Makeover Needed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler289 View Post
Why would the team trade Hood or Worilds? They are both young and, at the very worst, adequate NFL players who could still improve. Hood especially is valuable considering our lack of DL depth. At the very worst, he's an average starter. You don't just dump that for a 4th/5th round pick. We need any youth/potential on this defense that we can get. Hood is what, one of three starters on defense (Woodley, Timmons) south of 30?
Keenan Lewis is also south of 30 but you make a good point.
__________________
Hawaii 5-0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Shoutbox provided by vBShout v6.2.1 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.0.8 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.
Navbar with Avatar by Motorradforum
no new posts