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Old 03-16-2013, 07:06 PM   #1
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Default Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

Pittsburgh Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

by Steelblitz

The Pittsburgh Steelers have already lost two young starters this off-season in Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis. The Steelers have also lost veterans James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall, Willie Colon and are not expected to bring back Max Starks and Casey Hampton. In the past it’s been uncommon for the Steelers to lose young talent. Instead they have typically locked up their young players and let older veterans go to make up the difference in cap space.

However, a lack of cap space and less experienced young players have caused the Steelers to lose two young starters this off-season. That same formula could cost the Steelers even more young stars to free agency a year from now.

Next off-season Emmanuel Sanders, Steve McLendon, Ziggy Hood, Jonathan Dwyer and Jason Worilds are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Sanders and McLendon could still leave this off-season as well if they get an offer on the open market as restricted free agents. The Steelers would be able to match those offers, but with their cap space being very limited they may not have room to do so.

A lack of cap space may also keep the Steelers from being able to sign any of these players to long-term deals. Pittsburgh may also be hesitant to sign any of the five to long-term deals because only Hood has been a full-time starter at any point during his career.

Sanders was the third receiver on the depth chart a year ago behind Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace. The 2012 season was his best season to date and he was supposed to see more playing time in Wallace’s absence, but rumors are that the Patriots may steal him from the Steelers in free agency.

McLendon was Casey Hampton’s back-up in 2012 and was ranked as ProFootballFocus’ top nose tackle for the 2012 season. I have argued that McLendon should have seen more playing time in 2012, but with Hampton expected to leave in free agency McLendon is expected to take over as the starter in 2013. However, like Sanders, McLendon could get an offer in restricted free agency.

Dwyer was also a restricted free agent, but he chose to sign his tender instead of testing the free agent market. Dwyer is also already in Miami for training and is hoping to be the Steelers feature back during the 2013 season. In 2012 Dwyer started at times for the Steelers and played well when the line in front of him was not banged up, but with offensive lineman going down almost every week that wasn’t very often.

As for Worilds the 2012 season was his best season so far in the NFL. Worilds saw playing time at right and left outside linebacker as he filled in for James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley who each missed time due to injuries. With Harrison now gone its next man up and that is expected to be Worilds.

So for the sake of this article we will assume that Sanders and McLendon will be back with the Steelers in 2013. Now lets assume that due to lack of cap room the Steelers will be unable to sign any of these five players to long-term deals this off-season. That would mean that each of these players would become unrestricted free agents next off-season. Right now that may not seem like a huge deal as none of the five are huge pieces of the Steelers offense or defense, but that could change.

Dwyer may win the starting running back job. Sanders could be the Steelers number two receiver behind Brown. McLendon is expected to start at nose tackle with Hampton leaving as a free agent this off-season. Hood will continue to start at defensive end and Worilds, as of now, is expected to start in place of Harrison at outside linebacker.

If the Steelers young offensive line can stay healthy and produce Dwyer could have a big season for the Steelers in the running game. In his two starts with a consistent and fairly healthy line Dwyer averaged over six yards per carry. If he can produce anywhere over four and a half yards per carry in 2013 the Steelers run game will improve dramatically.

Sanders could also see a large increase in stats and playing time if he becomes the Steelers number two receiver. McLendon should also see an increase in playing time and could drastically increase his value if he can hold down the nose tackle position for an entire sixteen game season. Hood should also have a much better season in 2013 if Woodley can stay healthy. Having a pass rusher like Woodley playing next to him should give Hood more opportunities to make plays.

Worilds, like Dwyer, could also become a big performer as he looks to step into a starting role. During the 2012 season Worilds showed strong pass rushing abilities from the left side and his stats and skills should only improve with more playing time. If he plays at a high level he could become a very attractive free agent with more teams moving to the 3-4 defense and many teams looking for outside pass rushers.

Now we will assume that these five players will see more playing time in 2013 and that they all produce at a good to high level.

If that happens the Steelers would struggle mightily to keep them all around. Many teams will be looking at Worilds and McLendon if they play well because outside linebacker and nose tackle are arguably the most important spots in the 3-4 defense.

Feature running backs are also rare and a big season by Dwyer could get him a nice payday next off-season. Hood and Sanders can also increase their value by playing at a high level as starters in 2012.

If fans think it’s been hard to watch Wallace and Lewis leave Pittsburgh next off-season could be even worse. It of course will all depend on how these players perform next season, but if they play well they might price their way of the Steelers roster. Not to mention that Brett Keisel and Ryan Clark will be free agents in 2014 and to keep these young players around the Steelers would have to cut large salaries from their salary cap. Those cuts could be Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor depending on how each player performs in 2013.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/ar..._2014/13157797
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

Somebody explain to me how Dwyer, Hood and Worilds are better players than Wallace, Lewis and Harrison, please. Even if they outperform expectations, next year isn't going to hurt nearly as bad.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

great, if they produce well, they leave via FA. if they suck up the place we need to find replacements for them or keep them on our roster.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

I don't understand why we don't get out in front of some of this. Meaning, why don't we secure some of these guys PRIOR to them hitting free agency. I get our cap sicth but we see it coming. From FAR away and we still don't get proactive and restructure contract, ask vets to take cits or make tough cuts prior to losing good, young guys lately. That hasn't always been the case. What the hell has changed within the organization that they aren't doing that anymore?
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

NFL insider: Steelers’ sales pitch becoming harder to buy

By Alan Robinson
Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013

When coach Mike Tomlin met with backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, he gave him the traditional pitch the Steelers make to all free agents: You come to Pittsburgh to win, and not just once in a while.

“We are here to win championships,” said Gradkowski, the Dormont native. “You talk about other places, but here it's a reality.”

Only the reality for the Steelers on March 17, 2013 — six months away from their first game — is that more players are departing than arriving. The Steelers might be able to sell tradition and success and fan worshipfulness, but they're not able to buy players of substance — top-line, difference-making players — given their salary-cap straits.

“It's a challenge every year,” team president Art Rooney II said.

So who have they brought in? Gradkowski, who already has been with four teams since 2006 and certainly doesn't need a sell job to return home to Pittsburgh. William Gay, who was here before. Matt Spaeth (come Monday), who has been here before. (And you can add in Plaxico Burress, who was free to sign anywhere but chose to stay.) It's showing up on their depth chart, too. Regardless of the fact they lost five games by three points, the Steelers were an 8-8 team in 2012. And does anyone think the depth chart below signifies an upgrade?

OFFENSE

WR: Mike Wallace ($60 million deal with Dolphins) out, Emmanuel Sanders in — unless he signs an offer sheet from New England. If that happens, then Burress is a starter. Wallace has 16 touchdowns of 40 yards or more since 2009. Sanders? None.

TE: Heath Miller out, at least until he's healthy following a serious knee injury, Matt Spaeth in. Miller caught 71 passes last season. Spaeth has 49 catches in a six-year career.

LT: Max Starks out, Mike Adams (10 career games) in.

RB: Rashard Mendenhall out, who knows who's in?

DEFENSE

NT: Casey Hampton out, Steve McLendon in.

OLB: James Harrison (five Pro Bowls) out, Jason Worilds (five sacks last season) in.

CB: Keenan Lewis ($26.3 million deal with Saints) out, Cortez Allen in.

Nickel back: Allen out, William Gay in.

The Steelers' immense fan base will hear from general manager Kevin Colbert and Tomlin this week about the state of the Steelers, as both will address the media at the annual owners meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. It should be interesting.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz2NoLPpxe0
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

So now we aren't only overreacting to 2013, the media is starting to talk about 2014...
Gotta laugh
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

So now we're supposed to keep our older players for exorbitant prices and keep our younger guys out of the lineup?

fucking media, I swear
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

Not going to lie, I am pretty concerned with the team we have right now. Way too many holes to fill that will take more than one really good draft to fix...
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by pittpete View Post
So now we aren't only overreacting to 2013, the media is starting to talk about 2014...
Gotta laugh
This. I'll say it now and I'll say it forever, the media has it in for us.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Fans Could have a Much Worse Off-Season in 2014

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Originally Posted by RushHard34 View Post
Not going to lie, I am pretty concerned with the team we have right now. Way too many holes to fill that will take more than one really good draft to fix...
Can you list the "too many holes"?
The only glaring hole I see right now is RB and possibly WR & TE
Our O-line is set
D-line is set
LBers are set
Secondary is set
Remember, there are still cuts coming before the season starts.
We could always grab a guy here or there for depth.
We could come out of this draft with a whole new offense.
I'm not so worried YET
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