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Old 03-10-2007, 07:09 AM   #1
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Default Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, March 10, 2007


In Mike Tomlin's first group interview with local print reporters after he became the Steelers' new coach, he made a point to mention three players the team can't do without.

Tomlin said Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu and Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton will thrive in any defense. And he said perennial Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca is an automatic starter.

Among them, Hampton, Polamalu and Faneca have been voted to 12 Pro Bowls.

By stating the obvious, Tomlin identified three impact players the Steelers can not afford to lose.

But like it or not, the Steelers may be without at least one after next season.

Hampton is signed through 2009. The Steelers have two more years before they have to redo Hampton's contract.

Faneca and Polamalu are a different story. Their contracts expire following the 2007 season. Given that Steelers management normally tries to lock up players they intend to retain the year before their contract expires, this offseason is critical.

Fortunately for the Steelers, management doesn't often face a situation like this one, when the contracts of two elite players expire in the same season.

Compounding -- and confounding -- matters is free agency.

Given the exponentially greater financial rewards now available to free agents, and given the Steelers' history for being fiscally conservative, management may be forced to choose between two of its best -- and most popular -- players.

Unless the Steelers go against the grain and offer blockbuster deals to both players, expect Faneca and Polamalu to play out their current contracts, with free agency a very real possibility for at least one, and maybe both.

The scuttlebutt traveling among player agents is that Marvin Demoff, Polamalu's high-powered representative, wants a dollar more than Baltimore safety Ed Reed's six-year, $45 million deal that includes a $15 million signing bonus.

Polamalu is a special talent. Steelers management acknowledges as much. The Steelers take care of their own (unless you're Joey Porter). But management also realizes that Polamalu has suffered several concussions since college, and he had a rough 2006 season because of shoulder and knee injuries.

If the Steelers don't give Polamalu the contract he wants, they can always designate him as their franchise player in 2008. That means Polamalu would earn the average salary of the top five safeties while the two sides try to hammer out a new deal.

Why would the Steelers designate Polamalu as the franchise player instead of Faneca? Because Polamalu is five years younger than Faneca.

Which brings us to Faneca. He's been to six straight Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl. Compare that with tackle Leonard Davis ($49.6 million) and guards Eric Steinbach ($49.5 million), Derrick Dockery ($49 million) and Kris Dielman ($38 million), four free agents whose salaries total $186 million with a guaranteed $70 million the first two years.

Faneca, who turns 31 in December, is older than his four more highly paid peers, and age must be factored into his next contract. However, it should be noted that Davis, Steinbach, Dockery and Dielman have yet to win a Super Bowl or appear in a Pro Bowl. It should also be noted that Faneca is far more accomplished than any of those players, and that he should be good for at least three or four more high-caliber seasons.

With teams falling over themselves to overpay average talent, imagine what Faneca could command in free agency. Unless the Steelers break tradition and offer Faneca a landmark contract, there's no incentive for him to sign a year early.

Because he's older, Faneca wants to cash in on one final payday, even if he doesn't finish his career with the Steelers. Remember, Faneca was a big fan of former offensive line/assistant head coach Russ Grimm. Faneca wasn't happy when Tomlin got the job over Grimm, and that displeasure could factor into his decision when negotiating his next deal.

Whether they keep Polamalu or Faneca, the Steelers can't lose. Either player is like money in the bank. The Herculean task facing the Steelers, if they choose to accept it, will be trying to keep both players.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_497027.html
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

Good read. I really hope they keep both. But about that rumor, well i don't think it's true.

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Old 03-10-2007, 08:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

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Good read. I really hope they keep both. But about that rumor, well i don't think it's true.

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Article is a good review of what we have been discussing here.

If the "rumor" that you do not regard to be true is Troy wanting to get more than Reed, I believe you can take that to the bank. With today's boosts in salaries, there is no way Troy signs for less than what Reed got.

Given what Troy will cost, I do not believe the Steelers are also willing to pay Faneca what he will command on the open market.

So let's get Troy signed ASAP.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

one thing they didnt mention was if we signed them both, there is a possibility. i think they are both the best at their position out of the whole league, but if i had to choose i would choose polamalu because he is 26, he has had injuries but so has ed reed and i dont remember the ravens releasing him.....troy is younger,and he plays for the best part of our team....THE DEFENSE! the steelers are a defensive team so i believe they will stay defensive.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

I really hope they get Troy signed without any distractions or delays. Troy is worth his weight in gold to us in my opinion.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

Decisions, decisions...

To me, the safe - and smart bet - is to make Troy the highest-paid safety in the league, and to do it before his contract ends and they're forced to use the franchise tag, which they would almost certainly do. They would then run the risk of having to pay even more than they would have had to this year if another, possibly lesser, safety is given more money than Reed next offseason. So that means that Faneca will be gone after this season - I can't see the Steelers paying him over $50 million at this stage of his career and especially if he's going to be a disgruntled player because his favorite coach is gone. As I said in another thread, it is "easier," IMO, to replace a Pro Bowl guard than a Pro Bowler at a skilled position, such as safety in this case.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

6 yrs ..45 million!!!! Damn . I wonder what Big Ben will cost!
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Old 03-10-2007, 11:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

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6 yrs ..45 million!!!! Damn . I wonder what Big Ben will cost!
Probably a heck of a lot more, that is if they dont take in to consideration the possible injuries.

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Old 03-10-2007, 12:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

Troy doesn't seem like the kind of guy who wants the big money, that's just his agent right? Anyway I think they should resign him, and Faneca depending on what he wants, he'll be 32 next year, as much as I hate to admit it I just think we won't see him retire a Steeler, I would love for that to happen though.
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Old 03-10-2007, 12:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Polamalu, Faneca due for big contracts

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Troy doesn't seem like the kind of guy who wants the big money, that's just his agent right? Anyway I think they should resign him, and Faneca depending on what he wants, he'll be 32 next year, as much as I hate to admit it I just think we won't see him retire a Steeler, I would love for that to happen though.
Troy does not drive a Ferrari during the season while the Bentley convertible is garaged at his summer home in the Hamptons, but I bet he expects to be paid market value. Just because he does not spend the $$ on bling, he can use it to take care of his family and make an impact in the community.

Don't count on any sort of discount because Troy appears to have it together in his personal life with regard to what really matters.

I agree the numbers simply do not appear to fit for Faneca - hope he does not end up playing out his career for some chump team that has the cap $$ to meet Faneca's high price.
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