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Old 03-18-2013, 03:50 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PHOENIX -- Mike Tomlin sat on the patio of the posh Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, looking relaxed in an off-white camp shirt and sounding like he didn't have a care in the world -- even if he does.

His Steelers team is losing starters at an alarming rate -- five and counting since the end of the season -- and salary-cap restrictions are limiting its ability to replace any of them.

Two of those departed -- wide receiver Mike Wallace and running back Rashard Mendenhall -- were the featured players at their position for several years. And even Tomlin acknowledged the Steelers have to do something to replace them.

"We're trying to add talent at all positions -- obviously wide receiver is one of them," Tomlin said Sunday, sitting in the shade and getting ready for the start of the NFL's owners meeting that begins today. "When you lose players the caliber of Mike Wallace, we want to continually add to the talent and our depth.

"We'll have the opportunity to do that this spring, the draft being the primary one, but also recognizing we're capable of free agency as well."

And running back?

Mendenhall was let go to sign with Arizona and Isaac Redman is a restricted free agent who was offered a one-year tender for $1,323,000. Jonathan Dwyer was offered the same tender as a restricted free agent and already signed his. But Redman and Dwyer are not considered feature backs.

"Obviously, we need to add to the pool of talent we have at that position," Tomlin said.

The Steelers brought in former Arizona running back Beanie Wells Friday and he passed his physical. However, his knee injury is bad enough that it would be a risk for the Steelers to sign him.

The Steelers have signed only two outside free agents since the end of the season -- cornerback William Gay and quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. Both will assume backup positions.

Former Steelers tight end Matt Spaeth will be at the team's South Side facility today to take a physical and sign a two-year contract. Spaeth, a third-round pick in 2007, has not signed a contract despite national reports.

The Steelers rarely sign a starter in free agency and this year might be no different.

"There's a desire to assemble the very best team we can assemble, but we deal in a world of realism and we have constraints with the salary cap that can limit some of those thoughts," Tomlin said. "I'm not a big dreamer in that regard and don't spend a lot of time on things that aren't practical."

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was a bit more cryptic when asked about the impact of already losing three starters in free agency -- Wallace, Mendenhall and cornerback Keenan Lewis.

"Only time will tell ... We'll see where that goes," Colbert said. "You can also argue we lost three persons from an 8-8 team."

Then, Colbert added: "Can we get better? We hope."

Colbert said the Steelers have not received any official notification that wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has signed an offer sheet with the New England Patriots, despite national reports. A team source said the Steelers were told by Sanders' agent, Jordan Woy, that his client has not signed an offer sheet.

If he does, the Steelers can match the offer for Sanders, who is a restricted free agent, or let him go and receive a third-round choice in this year's draft in return.

What would the Steelers do if Sanders does sign an offer sheet?

"As of right now, he doesn't have an offer, so it's a moot point," Tomlin said. "It's something we will address as an organization if the situation develops."

The potential loss of Sanders, coupled with Wallace, would create a dire need at wide receiver. But Colbert said that will not force the Steelers to have any "needs" in the draft.

"I don't like to use the word 'need,' " Colbert said. "We're not going to list one position or prioritize over another."

Speaking publicly for the first time since the end of the season, Tomlin also said he believes "we have a solid group of players" and did not acknowledge any type of discontent in the locker room like some players have suggested after a quote from an anonymous player criticizing linebacker LaMarr Woodley's production and conditioning.

"For me, the reality is, we were an 8-8 team and that's probably more acceptable in some places than it is our place," Tomlin said. "I hope we have a solid group, I believe we do. I'm not looking to put anyone at ease in that regard. We need to get better in [2013], do better than we did in [2012], and we have a group that is geared toward doing that."

Colbert said the decision to sign Gradkowski, a Dormont native and Seton-LaSalle High School graduate, was partly because Gradkowski is familiar with the teams in the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns, and most recently Cincinnati Bengals, are among the five teams for whom Gradkowski, 30, has played in his seven-year career.

"He is a young, veteran backup," Colbert said. "He still has some productive years and it's not a year-to-year proposition. We were hoping to get an experienced backup who not only knows the league, but knows our division very well."

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz2NsaXjG00
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

Colbert: "Can we get better? We hope."

Sounds about as promising as Troy last year when he said he wasn't sure if the team could turn the season around. IMO this will be THEE turning point for the FO and for the remainder of the vets.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

Colbert, "You can also argue we lost three persons from an 8-8 team."

might was well cut Ben too, he's just another guy on an 8-8 team
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

either the Steelers have a fantastic plan in place to get us back into contention or they've realized for a few years now that this coming season was going to be the bump in the road before it

Either way - they certainly don't instill a lot of "hope" with their remarks. It doesn't read well on paper/screen anyways

The whole 8-8 reference sounds like a cop out remark - and I actually have had a lot of faith in the FO and personnel decisions. I've said it since the last couple games of this past season - if we see a repeat - maybe Colbert does need to be on the hot seat
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

As I said in another thread. I will wait and see what is in store for the draft. Lets see how this team sets up in training camp. I have faith in the FO.
Although it does appear we are seeing a repeat of the 80's where all our stud vets retired and we have no one up to the "standard " of Steeler football ready to replace them.
However, one thing we have now we didn't have back then. A franchise QB in Ben. Until I see the reincarnation of Mark Malone and Cliff Stoudt I will be optimistic we will be ok
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

Realistically, everyone should have understood this was how things had to be. This is the result when you keep restructuring gigantic contracts. Eventually it all comes due, and you get your talent pillaged by teams who didn't sell off their future seasons cap space.

Still, we'll get through it. I wouldn't expect much on the field this year unless we have a fantastic draft, though. We need a playmaking RB and a couple other spots. The division will be very tough this year.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

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Realistically, everyone should have understood this was how things had to be. This is the result when you keep restructuring gigantic contracts. Eventually it all comes due, and you get your talent pillaged by teams who didn't sell off their future seasons cap space.

Still, we'll get through it. I wouldn't expect much on the field this year unless we have a fantastic draft, though. We need a playmaking RB and a couple other spots. The division will be very tough this year.
The salary cap remaining at its 2009 level isn't exactly helping either, especially when deals with players were made that assumed certain incremental raises in the cap on a yearly basis. The salary cap took an almost $20 million jump in 2006 with new TV contracts in place after a number of years of much smaller jumps between $4-$5 million. And then between 2006-09, the salary cap went up $7 million per year like clockwork. Since the uncapped year in 2010, the cap has pretty much flat lined. I'm sincerely hoping the new TV contracts in 2014 see a similar jump in the cap. In fact, I'm surprised the union hasn't pitched a bitch about the salary cap remaining flat for the past 3 years, because league revenues sure as hell haven't remained flat.
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

Knowing we need to add talent and actually doing so are two.completely different things.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

Wow i got flamed for saying pretty much what tomlin said. I guess me having the same opinion as our head coach is ludicrous. Jesus Christ.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Given recent losses, Tomlin knows Steelers must add talent

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Jesus Christ.


too old

well, maybe for vet minimum, if he can bring us a miracle or two
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