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Old 09-01-2009, 06:50 AM   #1
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Default Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing
August 31, 8:41 PMPittsburgh Steelers Examiner
Daniel Flickinger
http://www.examiner.com/x-14024-Pitt...eisel-signing#
The Steelers didnít draft defensive lineman Ziggy Hood to be a backup.

After todayís news of defensive end Brett Keisel signing a new five-year contract, many are left to wonder about the future of nose tackle Casey Hampton beyond this season.

Hampton, in the last year of a five-year 22 million dollar contract, can test the free agent market at seasons end and will get big offers from teams that could use a four-time Pro Bowler in the middle of their defensive line.

The Keisel signing could mean one of two things:

The Steelers will elect not to sign Hampton and move Hood to nose tackle or they will release defensive end Aaron Smith.

Both seem reasonable but the Smith option is not likely.

Even though the Steelers are using Hood as a defensive end, he played tackle in college. With his size and athletic ability, he shouldnít have a major problem taking over for Hampton if thatís what the Steelers decide to do.

If the team decides to say goodbye to the 33-year-old Smith next year, Hood could move into his starting spot. However, with Smith under contract for the next three years and his play not declining yet, it's doubtful that the Steelers will release him.

Consider too that Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert has done a great job by keeping the core of the team together with a slew of signings in the past year, but by doing so means thereís not much money left to go around.

Thereís also some big name players (Ryan Clark, Willie Parker, Jeff Reed) that will be free agents at the end of this season that the Steelers may try to resign.

They canít keep everyone.

Lets make it perfectly clear that the Steelers did not spend a first round draft pick on Hood so he could eventually be a starter in X amount of years.

They chose him because they thought he could make an immediate impact and itíd be foolish to sign both Keisel and Hampton with Hood waiting in the wings.

The 31-year-old Hampton could be the odd man out.

STAPLETON PLACED ON IR/FOUR PLAYERS RELEASED

- The team placed offensive lineman Darnell Stapleton on injured reserve. He will be gone for the season. Stapleton got surgery on his injured knee which was only supposed to sideline him for three or four weeks.

- Four players were also released Monday: center Alex Stepanovich, wide receivers Martin Nance and Steven Black and safety Derrick Richardson.
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

Yet another writer that has put Hood in as a name to take Hamptons place. I can't believe that they are putting so much time and effort inot making him a 3-4 DE just to turn around and attempt to put him at nose. They will need to play Hoke and find yet another draft prospect, and/or develop Sonny Harris if they do not intend to resign Big Snack..
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

My take:

Keisel's contract is cap friendly, even for a veteran backup RDE.

The Steelers are not against rotating their high draft pick defensive players in and out of the lineup, as evidenced by Lawrence Timmons taking three years to finally crack the starting group, but contributing significantly as a rotation player his second year. I can see a scenario where Keisel and Hood are situationally alternated for the next two seasons while Hood develops, and then Keisel becoming a very capable (and cap-friendly) backup.

You build a franchise two deep at each position.

Right now the Steelers look like they will be two deep starter-capable at every position across the defensive line next season.

LDE - Aaron Smith and Sonny Harris
NT - Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke
RDE - Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood

Casey Hampton came in this year ready to play. He is playing at a very high level this pre-season.

Hampton is a beast. He's the cornerstone of everything Dick LeBeau wants to do with his LB's in this defense. Hampton is a run-stuffer-extraordinaire! He plugs up the middle so rediculously well that finding a replacement for him is not going to be easy.

The Steelers will likely re-sign him.

And why would Hampton want to leave anyways?
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

Lakelander, I think you nailed it. I agree with everything you said.
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

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Originally Posted by Youngstown Steeler View Post
Lakelander, I think you nailed it. I agree with everything you said.
Thanks Youngstown ... !!!

So much for the Pittsburgh Steelers being "old and thin" across the D-Line!

... and who really knows what the next two drafts will behold ... ????
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lakelander View Post
My take:

And why would Hampton want to leave anyways?
I'd say he would leave for money. The Steelers are going to be very cash strapped after this year and won't be able to provide the big payday for Big Snack. Hell, the Ravens would pay him $6-$7 million per year and a nice signing bonus just to get him out of Pittsburgh.

I believe he's gone after this year. I'm a huge fan of his, but this article did get one point correct ... we can't keep everyone and we're going to lose some talent we would really love to keep. But the team management has a core group in mind and have taken the steps to secure those players.

I'd also like to see them resign Ryan Clark as he's a real savage out there on the field. This is tough to say, but I think they will have a priority to sign Reed. Remember what a circus we had with kickers trying to make 35 yarders in the open end of Heinz? Now, Reed kicks 45-50 yarders into that end of the field on cold, snowy, windy December days and we're happy to have him. The guy's a mudder and plays on a field that can be more of a swamp than a pasture. God I hate kickers, but like Sepulveda, he's a Steelers kicker.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

If we dont get him signed then Hoke will be our NT next year and we will draft a guy this year.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

yeah good post Lakelander

Casey Hampton is quickly becoming the most underrated, unappreciated and forgotten Steeler. People criticize him for coming into camp out of shape but does his play on the field when it counts ever suffer??? Hell no.

As mentioned, since this was a contract year...Hampton came into camp ready to play and did finish the initial run test for the first time in a long long time. I expect a great year from Hampton and then hope we franchise him for 1 more year. It's too risky to extend him because of his age/size and knee problems

Bottom line is this #1 D would not be the same without Hampton just like it wasn't a couple years ago when A. Smith was out
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

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Originally Posted by KeiselPower99 View Post
If we dont get him signed then Hoke will be our NT next year and we will draft a guy this year.
guys like Hampton are not so easily replaced
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Old 09-01-2009, 12:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hampton's days as a Steeler may be numbered after Keisel signing

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
The Steelers didnít draft defensive lineman Ziggy Hood to be a backup.
...

The Keisel signing could mean one of two things:
It means they drafted Hood to take over for Smith in a couple years, duh. That's all. It doesn't mean they're getting rid of anyone now, or reshuffling the line for no reason, and the sky isn't falling, and they're not bound to do something stupid, and they're not going to turn into a turkey, or anything like that.

They'll easily have the money to re-sign Hampton if they want, or they could always use the franchise tag. Between his own expiring contract, the dead money we'll get back, and finally getting rid of Parker, we should have something like $18 million to try and sign two or three guys. That ought to be easy.

I don't know where this nonsense comes in about if we keep Hampton, we have to release Smith, and vice versa. I mean ... sure, we could do that, if we had shit for brains. I'm thinking they keep Hampton as long as possible and Smith until his contract runs out, at which point he'll probably retire.
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