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Old 01-12-2008, 09:47 AM   #1
HometownGal
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Default Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

I'm sad to see him go, but the writing appears to be on the wall.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08012/848753-87.stm

Accept it: Faneca is out the door

Saturday, January 12, 2008
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

There appear to be a number of misconceptions out there about the Pittsburgh sports teams, notably that the Pirates actually might win again in our lifetime with their new management team, that the Penguins are surging in spite of their knucklehead coach and that the Steelers still somehow will find a way to keep All-Pro guard Alan Faneca. It is that third fallacy that we will address this morning.

There's just no way.

No, the Steelers won't make Faneca their franchise player and keep him for one more season by paying him the average salary of the top five NFL guards, a figure that could be in the neighborhood of $8 million or $9 million. That's a very exclusive neighborhood. That's also why the Steelers generally don't believe in the franchise tag. It's a tool that's used to buy time to sign a would-be free agent to a long-term contract. The Steelers get the players whom they want at a better price without using it.

They clearly have no serious interest in keeping Faneca for the long haul despite coach Mike Tomlin's assertion this week. They proved that last spring when they -- according to Faneca -- lowballed him and offered a deal that wouldn't have ranked him among the league's top 10 highest-paid guards. Knowing that, the franchise tag would infuriate Faneca. He wouldn't just skip the offseason workouts. He would hold out in training camp. Tomlin doesn't need that headache starting his second season.

Beyond that, the Steelers' salary cap can't afford the enormous all-at-once hit that such a contract would provide. That sort of hit for a franchise quarterback is fine, not so much for a guard, no matter how terrific he is.

There's also no chance that Faneca will give the Steelers a hometown discount to stay. It's almost laughable when people say he might take less from the Steelers because he and his wife, Julie, love Pittsburgh so much and, admirably, are deeply involved in charity work here. If that's true, why do the Fanecas move back to Louisiana as soon as each season ends?

That isn't to suggest Faneca is doing anything wrong. He owes the Steelers nothing. He fulfilled his contract to the team and did it well, making his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl this season. Now, he has put himself in position to use the system to his benefit. More power to him. Football is a brutal game. His career could end on any play. He should go for every dollar he can, while he can.

Faneca was wrong last spring to expect free-agent money when he still had a year left on his contract. A player can't get truly big money until he hits free agency. Well, Faneca is there now. He gambled this season that his performance wouldn't slip and that he wouldn't be seriously injured. He won big on both fronts. Now, teams are expected to line up in a bidding war for him. The Steelers are wrong if they think he should take less to stay here. He shouldn't show them any more loyalty than they showed him last spring. Even Tomlin acknowledged: "Free agency is about dollars and cents. I've never seen it be about anything but dollars and cents."

Losing Faneca will be difficult for the Steelers. He was their only star player on what was a bad offensive line. Although he turned 31 Dec. 7, he showed no signs of slowing down or breaking down. His fifth All-Pro selection this season is testament to the former, the fact he hasn't missed a game since the 2001 season to the latter.

But the Steelers largely have been successful over the years determining when is the right time to part with one of their all-time greats. Just last year, they made the wise decision to release linebacker Joey Porter. James Harrison took over Porter's position and the team didn't miss a beat. Although it's fair to presume Faneca has considerably more left than Porter, the franchise will survive and move on without him. The franchise always survives.

The sooner you accept that Faneca is gone, the sooner you can start coming to terms with the fact that Michel Therrien is a pretty fair hockey coach and that the Pirates never will win as long as Bob Nutting is their owner.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

I think most of us knew this a couple of months ago.

This is huge blow to the O line. Like it or not, Faneca was one of the few players on that line who was able to at least hold his own this season. Replacing him is going to be a real pain in the ass.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

I figured it was coming before the season started and was hoping someone would show some signs of athleticism on the line as a good replacement.... sadly that didn't happen.

Its just hard to take that we are losing the best O-Line guy when really that was the biggest weakness on the team the last 2 years. I am hoping we get some great draft picks either that or the people that are supposed to be filling in and taking spots step up and really do their jobs.

On a side note I think Mahan at guard might be able to fix some issues I don't think moving him to center this year was a very fair or smart move by the coaches. Maybe he will play a much better game if the ball isn't in his hands every snap.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

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Originally Posted by Steelerfreak58 View Post
I figured it was coming before the season started and was hoping someone would show some signs of athleticism on the line as a good replacement.... sadly that didn't happen.

Its just hard to take that we are losing the best O-Line guy when really that was the biggest weakness on the team the last 2 years. I am hoping we get some great draft picks either that or the people that are supposed to be filling in and taking spots step up and really do their jobs.

On a side note I think Mahan at guard might be able to fix some issues I don't think moving him to center this year was a very fair or smart move by the coaches. Maybe he will play a much better game if the ball isn't in his hands every snap.
Some guys can make the transition to another position and some can't. It's not the sign of being a bad football player. Looking back on it, I now know that Okobi should have been the starting center with Mahan being the super backup with the idea of him taking over for Faneca after this season. Bad move by the FO which could end up costing the team in the long term.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

Congrats to Faneca on his upcoming BAJILLION dollar contract. He's earned it.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

I don't think he will be back myself. As we have done over the years, I am sure we will get someone threw the draft.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
I think most of us knew this a couple of months ago.

This is huge blow to the O line. Like it or not, Faneca was one of the few players on that line who was able to at least hold his own this season. Replacing him is going to be a real pain in the ass.

I agree, I am ready to face it and move on.
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

Yeah, I've come to deal with these much like Kevin Green, Joey Porter, Greg Lloyd, and the list goes on and on... but 9 times out of 10 our management gets it right and it is the right thing to do this time... even if it hurts.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
Some guys can make the transition to another position and some can't. It's not the sign of being a bad football player. Looking back on it, I now know that Okobi should have been the starting center with Mahan being the super backup with the idea of him taking over for Faneca after this season. Bad move by the FO which could end up costing the team in the long term.
Mahan played sparingly at the center position when he was with da Bears, but he is a natural guard. I saw with my own eyes at camp how strong this man is - he totally frustrated Big Snack when he couldn't move Mahan. You are right- some players can play either position but some just can't. I believe moving Mahan to his natural spot will be a good move and the Steelers will either draft a C or pick one up via FA.

Tomlin and Zierlein obviously didn't feel Okobi was starter material and Arizona didn't either - he was released in September by the Steelers and by the Cards in October.
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Last edited by HometownGal; 01-12-2008 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Accept It - Faneca Is Out The Door

Googled this list, not sure how up to date it is...

http://www.footballsfuture.com/2008/...eagentsOL.html

Colts have a couple guys on the market it seems...
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