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Old 07-27-2008, 04:24 AM   #1
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Default Steelers facing contract issues

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_579657.html

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Steelers facing contract issues

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, July 27, 2008

Take a good, long look at the 2008 Steelers.
There's a strong possibility the Steelers team that reports for training camp today at St. Vincent College in Latrobe will have a vastly different look in 2009.

A total of 14 players, including starters such as linebacker James Farrior and offensive tackle Marvel Smith, are entering the final year of their contracts.

If those players don't sign before the Sept. 7 opener against Houston at Heinz Field, it's unlikely they'll remain with the Steelers beyond this season. The Steelers don't negotiate contracts during the season, and once the players become free agents, it is more than likely that they would sign elsewhere.

"There are a lot of decisions to be made that could make or break the team," Farrior said.
Making contract negotiations potentially more difficult is the Steelers' unsettled ownership situation. Chairman Dan Rooney and son and president Art Rooney II are attempting to keep the franchise under family control, while Dan's four brothers want to get out of the NFL and focus their attention on their racetracks and other businesses.

The situation leaves questions. Will the team rush to re-sign players if the Steelers are worth more money with fewer contracts on the books?

Moreover, will Dan Rooney's attempt to restructure team ownership leave him and Art Rooney II with enough time before the start of the season to get key players signed?

In addition to Farrior and Smith, the list of players up for contract renewal includes cornerback Bryant McFadden and backup quarterback Charlie Batch, who also are entering the final year of their deals.

Tackle Willie Colon, safety Anthony Smith and receiver Willie Reid are entering their third seasons - and in the final year of their contracts - and could be retained as restricted free agents in 2009.

Guard Chris Kemoeatu, tackles Max Starks and Trai Essex and wide receiver Nate Washington will be unrestricted free agents after next season. And linebacker Arnold Harrison, cornerback Anthony Madison and defensive back Grant Mason are working on one-year contracts.

In addition, defensive end Brett Keisel, nose tackle Casey Hampton, running back Willie Parker, linebacker James Harrison and cornerback Deshea Townsend will have one year remaining on their deals entering 2009.

That's a lot of important players whose contract status could be up in the air, leaving Steelers ownership with plenty of tough decisions to make over the next two seasons.

"We've got to trust the people in charge to do the right thing and keep the team intact," said Farrior, a six-year starter with the Steelers. "Whoever's got to go, they've got to go."

The emergence of linebacker Lawrence Timmons could make Farrior expendable after this season. When faced with a similar situation as a member of the New York Jets, Farrior recorded a career-high 175 tackles and had two interceptions, three forced fumbles and defended nine passes. Upon leaving the Jets, Farrior signed with the Steelers.

"When I was in that situation with the Jets coming into my last year, I didn't really focus on it," Farrior said.

Meanwhile, McFadden said he is focused on trying to beat out Townsend for the starting cornerback job opposite Ike Taylor, not getting a new contract.

"As far as the last year of the deal, that's just part of the business," he said. "That's up to my agent and the Steelers.

"Regardless, if it was the first or last year, each offseason you're trying to get better and be better than what you did the season before. That is our major emphasis right now. I don't think that will be a distraction at all."

Farrior believes a strong performance on the field will result in financial rewards for the players.

"Even if the team doesn't plan on keeping us around," he said, "we've got (31) other teams to be playing for."
Interesting times lay ahead for the front office. Looks nearly a quarter of the final playing roster may be playing for a new contract. That should lead to some motivated players this year.

One or two may not make it out of training camp. (Willie Reid, Madison or Mason.)

It will be hard work trying to keep 8 -10 of the players on that list and pay market value.
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Old 07-27-2008, 05:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers facing contract issues

Nice read Aussie
I think that this could be a make or break year also, but this could also mean playing the buns off to get a new contract or to look good for other teams who might be interested in signing them. I hate to see Farrior go, but the guy is getting pretty long in the tooth and if Timmons looks good this season I think that it is over for him in Pittsburgh. I would love to see D-Mac take that corner job from Deshea Townsend and run with it all the way to a pro-bowl career, do I think he will do it?.. No probably not. I think that maybe the sleeper corner for the steelers is William Gay the 2nd year guy that just made plays when he got in there and had a chance.
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers facing contract issues

I think you pretty much said it Elvis I really beleive that D-Mac will want a huge contract so I would say he will be walking next year and Gay will be trying to take over at corner.
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers facing contract issues

This sucks a lot. I have a feeling Parker wont be resigned. Nor Keisel, or Batch, or Townshend. I think the rest will be resigned soon because we have too, lol. We need Hampton, Harrison, Kemoeatu. Farrior and Anthony Smith are thrown in the air and i think 1 or the other will be signed. Marvel Smith wont be resigned because he will get money hungry and as he should. I hope it all works out for the better.

I hope the Steelers organization pays attention to this a little more in the future. We are on the brink of losing up to 8 or so starters 4 or so are reliable backups.
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers facing contract issues

It is said Marvel Smith and Big Mac will be looked at for contract extensions............
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers facing contract issues

I think Farrior might sign for the vet minimum or a lil more than that. He wants to retire a Steeler and I think he would take less to stay with the team.

McFadden might want big money, but he has to prove he deserves it first. If he breaks out this year, he might be offered a contract close to what Ike Taylor got after he had his breakout season. What the kicker with McFadden will be is his desire to win for a lil bit less money (aka stay with Pittsburgh) or take the boatload and sign with a team that probally has little chance of winning.

Parker might not be retained for two reasons. His price might be to steep for the Steelers (though I can see him taking less money to stay) and the emergance of Mendenhall. RM was more than an insurance policy in case Parker had a setback with his broken leg...he was the heir to the RB position in case Parker wanted more money than we could give him.

We resign Hampton, he will never play for someone else than the Steelers. He's too important to our defensive line to let walk.

Townsend all depends on what happens with McFadden. If McFadden wins the spot and takes an Ike Taylor-type contract Townsend is gone IMHO.

Batch could just retire at the end of the season.
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers facing contract issues

I've always said, "trust in the Rooney's". But now......... ??????????
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers facing contract issues

Good catch on the read.

Like the tree of liberty for the Republic, perhaps fresh blood is a good thing for the Steelers.

I would think Parker's deal will get done, depending on the leg, Farrior may be back for less. I dont know about the rest.
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers facing contract issues

This just in ..... John Harris says the world will end ............. someday ..... please panic at your discretion.

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In addition, defensive end Brett Keisel, nose tackle Casey Hampton, running back Willie Parker, linebacker James Harrison and cornerback Deshea Townsend will have one year remaining on their deals entering 2009.
In addition, rumor has it that a number of players will have contracts up entering 2010. In fact, reliable sources claim that resigning players to new contracts will remain an issues for the Steelers for as long as they play football...... SHOCKING.
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers facing contract issues

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Originally Posted by OneForTheToe View Post
This just in ..... John Harris says the world will end ............. someday ..... please panic at your discretion.



In addition, rumor has it that a number of players will have contracts up entering 2010. In fact, reliable sources claim that resigning players to new contracts will remain an issues for the Steelers for as long as they play football...... SHOCKING.
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