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Old 02-15-2009, 10:53 AM   #1
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Default Steelers notes from the Examiner

PITTSBURGH - Well, it's almost here. The NFL free agency period which begins in two weeks and although we've touched base on it a bit the past week, the next few days we'll dissect what could happen with the Steelers.

For now here are my thoughts on how things could go down the next few weeks.

1.) The priority without a doubt will be retaining one of its left tackles as Max Starks, Marvel Smith and Trai Essex are all unrestricted free agents. The question now, is who?

Smith when healthy has proven he can be one of the best in the NFL, but he was on injured reserve most of this year. His agent Ken Zukerman told the Tribune Review that if needed he could have played in the Super Bowl, still the fact is Smith has missed 19 games the past two years and is 31. It brings up many questions, with the top being are they willing to gamble Ben Roethlisberger's health on Smith staying healthy?

Essex probably will stay with the team, unless a GM out there is willing to overpay for a left tackle from a championship team, which has happened in the past, but he is not battle tested.

That is why I believe Starks, is the best option for the team at left tackle and feel that if something can't be worked out the team may slap the franchise tag on him. It could be their only option, as starting a rooking at this slot could be disastrous. Should the team go that way with the tag, Starks will make $8.45 million next year.

* For those wondering. A franchise player is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player's position as of April 15, or 120% of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater. If the player is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries of last season at his position, he becomes a "non-exclusive" franchise player and can negotiate with other clubs. His old club can match a new club's offer or receive two first-round draft choices if it decides not to match.

3. ) It is my feeling the Steelers like their secondary and will resign cornerback Bryant McFadden. McFadden is well liked and has been a leader not to mention the fact he did well with coverage. Sources have told us he is a priority to lock up.

4.) With the defensive end slot aging and Brett Keisel in the final year of contract, the Steelers may want to bring in someone such as the Cardinals Antonio Smith, who is young at 27 and had a tremendous season in helping the team to Super Bowl XLIII. The Chargers Igor Olshansky is also available and knows the 3-4 well, but was terrible in 2008 and some say he is a cancer.

5.) Don't expect this to happen, but... Carolina free-agent Julius Peppers expressed his desire in a conference call yesterday to play for a 3-4 team as a linebacker, With negotiations set to begin with James Harrison who is in the last year of his contract, if the Steelers foresee a problem, Peppers would be a great alternative. Carolina may slap him with the franchise tag, meaning a trade would be the only option. Steeler nation would love this.

6.) Last year the team lost Alan Fanaca to free agency, and while no Fanaca, his replacement Chris Kemoeatu did a nice job in the slot. Guess what, Kemoeatu is a free agent. His backup? Jeremy Parquet, who spent the first six weeks of the 2008 regular season on the Steelers' practice squad. Even though Kemoeatu was flagged over five times, and allowed 7.5 sacks, at 26 I believe inking him to a deal will be a priority.

7.) These are the players who would be logical choices for the Steelers to take a look at
- Jordan Gross, tackle Carolina; Vernon Carey, lt/rt, Miami.
- Corey Smith, defensive end, Detroit
- Dunta Robinson, cornerback, Houston
- Kenny Cole, defensive tackle

8.) Finally Mitch Berger fans, enjoy looking at the ring, because with Dan Sepulveda healthy again, he's the man. So it's bye-bye Mitch and his erratic punts.

STEELER NEWS: For those out there wondering, yes there is still time to get your hands on Santonio Holmes Gloves, but the price, well is now up $18,200 unless you want to buy them now, the cost would be a cool million. For more information or to just watch the site, go to Reebok.com.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steeler note from the Examiner

Peppers will break the bank somewhere and it won't be in the Burgh.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steeler note from the Examiner

i read in the detroit paper that peppers wants to go to either the jets or steelers b/c they play the 3-4
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steeler note from the Examiner

I don't want Peppers. He's not a realistic option anyway.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steeler note from the Examiner

Quote:
5.) Don't expect this to happen, but... Carolina free-agent Julius Peppers expressed his desire in a conference call yesterday to play for a 3-4 team as a linebacker, With negotiations set to begin with James Harrison who is in the last year of his contract, if the Steelers foresee a problem, Peppers would be a great alternative. Carolina may slap him with the franchise tag, meaning a trade would be the only option. Steeler nation would love this.
What's the difference between breaking the bank for Harrison and breaking the bank for Peppers? Oh yeah, one is actually a proven commodity as a 3-4 OLB. Pay Harrison and drop the Peppers talk.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steeler note from the Examiner

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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
What's the difference between breaking the bank for Harrison and breaking the bank for Peppers? Oh yeah, one is actually a proven commodity as a 3-4 OLB. Pay Harrison and drop the Peppers talk.
Exactly I don't see where we need peppers keep Harrison.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steeler note from the Examiner

if i can count correctly.. what happened to the 2nd point????
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steeler note from the Examiner

Sign Harrison this year

Then go to Peppers and say, "If you want to come and earn a ring here as a backup OLB, you're going to be paid as a OLB.

If he comes, we got good depth. If he doesn't, it is no loss for us.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steeler note from the Examiner

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Steeler nation would love this.
Somehow I don't think that there are many Steelers fans who would like to exchange Harrison for Peppers. Harrison just fits Pittsburgh way too well, he is definitely on fire at the moment, the defense as a whole plays a unit with HIM, not Peppers and I think you have to question the character of somebody who goes on the record stating that he would prefer to play somewhere else than his current team.

I just hope the Steelers give Harrison what he deserves, but after the contract they gave Polamalu I'm pretty sure they will.
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Old 02-15-2009, 04:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers notes from the Examiner

If we had Harrison, Peppers, and Woodley, all at a low price, that would be awesome for 3rd down.

But that's not really realistic.
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