Trouble Ahead for the Steelers

May 11, 2009

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Rob Preston

Trouble Ahead for the Steelers

Coming off a super bowl victory last season, hopes couldn't be higher for the 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers, as they should be.  While the team is returning 20 out of 22 starters from that super bowl run (only losing Larry Foote and Bryant Mcfadden), things begin to look bleak as we look at the possible roster a year from now.  In 2010, the Steelers will have an alarming number of key players that will be free agents if these players do not re-sign.


In all, twelve Steelers will become free agents, seven of them being unrestricted.  If unsigned, the Steelers would lose players like Willie Parker, Casey Hampton, Deshea Townsend, Heath Miller, William Gay, Ryan Clark, Brett Keisel, and everybody's favorite kicker, Jeff Reid.  With the signing of James Harrison, who will be 32 by the start of the 2010 season, the Steelers may have put themselves in a hole salary cap wise (assuming a new CBA is put into effect and 2010 is not an uncapped year).  With the Steelers right up against the cap, and rookie signings not taken care of, little wiggle room will be available to give these potential free agents a new contract.


While all of us NFL fans know the Steelers’ GM, Kevin Colbert,  knows what he's doing, and that the Rooney's have a great resume when it comes to evaluating whether or not to keep a player, it does look like there are troubled waters ahead.  They haven't let this problem go unnoticed though; making additions such as 1st round draft picks Ziggy Hood and Rashard Mendenhal from the last two drafts.  These picks should eventually more than plug up the possible holes in the 2010 roster, but  even with additions such as these, a glaring problem rears its ugly head at the corner back position. 


With the departure of Bryant McFadden, and the possibility of Deshea Townsend and William Gay becoming free agents, the only returning starting Steeler CB could be Ike Taylor, who will be 30 by the 2010 Season.  While there is no problem with having Ike in any secondary, the other corner position is a worry.  If the Steelers do re-sign Deshea, he will be 35 and likely nowhere near his playing level.  William Gay, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is a toss-up due to his lack of experience.  If neither are signed, the Steelers would need to do something they have rarely done in the past, bring in a free agent as a stop gap.


In all, the ownership of the Steelers has always been top-notch when it comes to personnel decisions, and there is much confidence that they will get things done as they often seem to do.  The only question is how well and how smooth they will do this.

Keywords: Art Rooney, Art Rooney Jr., Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton, Dan Rooney, Deshea Townsend, football, free agency, free agent, Heath Miller, Ike Taylor, Jeff Reid, Kevin Colbert, nfl, pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhal, Rob Preston, Ryan Clark, steelers, Super bowl, Superbowl, William Gay, Willie Parker, Ziggy Hood

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  1. i agree. although we all love james, signing him this offseason was a mistake. unless he's Defensive P.O.Y. again his value will be down next year. his age is my main concern. 30 is usually when players hit their peak and most start tanking it soon after. i live in seattle so this signing reminds me all too much of the Shaun Alexander signing. came out of nowhere (but kinda different cuz he played for 'Bama and James played for a smaller school.) put a couple solid seasons together, had an MVP season, and got his team to the Super Bowl. Next thing you know he's got a fat contract, get's hurt and is pretty much outta the league. hopefully this doesn't happen to james!

    and as far as F.A. go, here's how it should play out

    Keepers: Heath, Clark, Gay, and Hampton (1 yr deal tho. this year won't be enough to get Ziggy ready but 2 years should do), and Jeff

    Cut em: "Big Play" Deshea (I hope he retires so we don't have to), Keisel

    Wait and See: Willie (this depends on a couple things: is he healthy and how  Mendy is doing. if he's hurt or if Mendy is producing more effectively then it's time to see Willie go. But if Willie is fully healthy and the two complement each other well then we should give him a short term contract 1-3 yrs.)

    Ryan ParishRyan Parish on Tuesday, 12 May 2009, 14:55 PDT # |

  2. Ya, its gonna be interesting seeing what they do with fast Willie.  The average lifespan of an RB is only 3-5 years.  Mendenhall could give him a run for his money and knock him out.  If we give a roster spot to Frank "the tank" summers as well, it could look bad for parker.

    Rob PrestonRob Preston on Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 10:16 PDT # |

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