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Old 01-05-2007, 06:16 AM   #1
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Default Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

Steelers face many key offseason negotiations
Friday, January 05, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


At least eight Steelers will become unrestricted free agents in March unless they sign new contracts, including halfback Najeh Davenport, safeties Tyrone Carter and Mike Logan and special teams co-captain Sean Morey.

No starter's contract will expire other than right tackle Max Starks, however, and he will be a restricted free agent.

Still, the Steelers are headed for a busy negotiating session this spring because many of their most important players enter the final season of their contracts. That's usually a time when the Steelers try to negotiate extensions for the players they want to retain. Among the players with one year left on their deals are offensive guard Alan Faneca, safety Troy Polamalu, defensive end Aaron Smith, linebackers Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, and fullback Dan Kreider.

Several players renegotiated their deals this season to help the Steelers' save cap room, according to a list of contracts of the entire team obtained by the Post-Gazette. Those include Aaron Smith, linebacker Larry Foote and centers Jeff Hartings and Chukky Okobi.

The player who counted the most against the Steelers' salary cap in 2006 was not quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, nor Pro Bowl members Faneca, Casey Hampton or Troy Polamalu. It was left tackle Marvel Smith at $6.6 million, including a $4.4 million salary and a pro-rated portion of his signing bonuses. Next was center Jeff Hartings at nearly $6.5 million. Hartings has a year left on his contract, but he may retire; if he does, it would save $3.6 million in salary-cap room for the Steelers.

Other players with salary-cap values of more than $5 million last season were Faneca ($5.8 million), Hines Ward ($5.75 million) and Joey Porter ($5.23 million).

The final year of Porter's contract next season calls for him to have the highest salary-cap figure at $6.6 million. That includes a $4 million salary and a $1 million roster bonus payable in March.

Among the more intriguing salary-cap costs next season is cornerback Ike Taylor's. He received a new contract this season for $22.5 million over five years that paid a $6.4 million signing bonus. By the final third of the season, however, he was benched. His cap value of $1,588,000 this season jumps to nearly $5 million next season -- reflecting a jump in salary of about $2.8 million. That's a lot of cap room for someone who does not start, although he likely will get a chance to win back his job next summer.

The salary chart that accompanies this story reflects base salary, salary-cap value and certain bonuses such as workout bonuses, signing bonuses and roster bonuses. It does not reflect other financial information or incentives that affects each player's salary cap. Those can include incentives likely to be earned, reporting bonuses (once popular, now rarely used) and more.

Also, some figures listed in future roster bonuses do not affect a salary cap that season, based on how they are determined. For example, Roethlisberger is due large roster bonuses in the final two years of his contract, including $8 million in 2009, yet his salary-cap value for that season is slightly less than $3 million.

Other players who will become unrestricted free agents in two months if they do not sign with the Steelers in the interim are:

Offensive tackle Barrett Brooks, linebacker Chad Brown, defensive end Rodney Bailey, special teams player Chidi Iwuoma and receiver Lee Mays. Quarterback Brian St. Pierre would be a restricted free agent. Linebacker Arnold Harrison, long snapper Greg Warren and receiver Nate Washington are exclusive rights free agents who cannot move elsewhere as long as the team offers them a minimum-wage contract.

NOTES -- The Steelers signed six players to their reserve/future roster yesterday: Tight end Jon Dekker, running back Carey Davis, offensive tackle Brandon Torrey, defensive back Mike Lorello, linebacker Ron Stanley and wide receiver Walter Young. All spent time on the Steelers' practice squad last season.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07005/751463-66.stm
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Old 01-05-2007, 07:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

Sign CHIDI!!!!
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

def sign chidi. Get Najeh locked up for atleast 1 more year, Troy to longterm and the others we will just have to see. I like haggans ...porter is dyin on me. Idk if keisel was on the list...but he had a good season
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

Porter's best seasons might be behind him, but he's still an emotional leader. Keep him. With Cowher going, you need to keep the emotional leaders of the team around to ensure continuity.


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Old 01-05-2007, 01:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

I hope the Steelers are careful with Max Starks. Maybe they can learn from what happened in Seattle with Steve Hutchinson.

-Mike
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Old 01-05-2007, 01:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ5150 View Post
I hope the Steelers are careful with Max Starks. Maybe they can learn from what happened in Seattle with Steve Hutchinson.

-Mike
By hoping some other team overpays for Starks?
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Old 01-05-2007, 01:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

No, by signing him now if they want him. The Seattle front office grossly underestimated his worth and assumed no one would come after him.

-Mike
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Old 01-05-2007, 02:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ5150 View Post
I hope the Steelers are careful with Max Starks. Maybe they can learn from what happened in Seattle with Steve Hutchinson.

-Mike
Max wears 78. Hutchinson wears 76. The only thing Hutchinson and Starks have in common is that their number starts with a 7.

The question I would pose...can Colon step up next season so we don't have to resign Starks? Outside of the taunting penalty in the red zone he played well against Cincy.
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Old 01-05-2007, 02:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

Is there anything funnier in this article than Brian St. Pierre having a "restricted" status tagged on him? How bad was the Omar Jacobs pick?
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Old 01-05-2007, 02:28 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers face many key offseason negotiations

I know we all fall in love with certain players, but the Steelers formula in the FA era has always been to let guys go rather than brake the bank - Taylor and Porter leaving would free up a lot of room - why pay top money for guys that are performing at an avg to below avg level?
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