Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Keep em or kick em to the curb

The new coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers has a busy schedule, studying the team’s current roster, readying for the draft and settling itself in Pittsburgh.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to help them out a little by breaking down the team’s free agents and whether they fit into the team’s future plans or should be allowed to look for work elsewhere.

First up on our list is safety Tyrone Carter, an unrestricted free agent.

At 5-8, 195 pounds, Carter lacks the ideal size you’d like to have in an NFL safety. But the 29-year-old Carter has shown that he doesn’t shy away from throwing his body around.

He also doesn’t have great speed and isn’t a big playmaker, as his three career interceptions would attest.

But should the Steelers give the little guy a new contract or should they let him walk?

With veteran Mike Logan expected to retire, Carter’s departure would leave the Steelers with just three experienced safeties on their roster. And with 34 career starts under his belt - including three in 2006 – Carter is just the kind of player this team needs. He’s unselfish and accepts his role with this team as a backup, which will allow Anthony Smith and Ryan Clark to battle for the starting free safety position in training camp.

Carter is also smart enough that he not only knows the free safety’s responsibilities, but those of the strong safety as well. He’s also experienced playing the cover-2 that new head coach Mike Tomlin will eventually shift the team to, having played for Herm Edwards with the Jets before joining the Steelers.

Thus, keeping Carter around should be one of the team’s offseason priorities, though they shouldn’t overpay for his services. It’s unlikely he’ll land a starting job somewhere else, but he’s just the kind of backup that good teams need on the bench waiting in the wings if a starter goes down.

Verdict: A Keeper.

No comments: