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Monday, March 03, 2008

Don't get perplexed

With Ben Roethlisberger due a $3 million roster bonus March 5, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been focused on signing their franchise quarterback.

And that deal is getting closer to happening.

Meanwhile, save guard Alan Faneca’s signing with the New York Jets, all has been relatively quiet for the Steelers on the free agent front, particularly compared to what’s been happening with some of their rivals in the AFC North.

Cleveland has been a major player in the first few days of free agency, signing former New England wide receiver Donte Stallworth to a seven-year, $35-million contract; trading a fifth-round draft pick and cornerback Leigh Bodden to Detroit for defensive tackle Shaun Rogers; sending a second-round pick to Green Bay for defensive end Corey Williams – and signing him to a six-year, $38-million deal; and re-signing quarterback Derek Anderson to a three-year, $26-million deal.

Consider the team had already signed running back Jamal Lewis to a three-year, $17-million deal prior to the opening of free agency, and the Browns have taken on a ridiculous amount of money for what? A quarterback with one good season under his belt, an overweight nose tackle who played – when he felt like it – on the worst defense in the NFL last season, a defensive end who’s never played in a 3-4, and a wide receiver who has spent more time nursing injuries than he has catching passes during his career.

In return, the Browns have given up pretty much their entire 2008 draft and their best cornerback.

It’s a pretty big gamble, one that could add up to a winning season or two, but in the long run will severely damage Cleveland considering the amount of money the Browns are spending.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, has seen two of its better defensive players, defensive end Justin Smith and free safety Madieu Williams, sign with San Francisco and Minnesota, respectively.

And the Bengals have yet to make a free agent addition.

Considering the Bengals’ defense was among the worst in the league last season – and in the past decade, for that matter – that’s not a good sign.

Baltimore, meanwhile, has had no free agent losses, but hasn’t added anyone, either.

So while Steelers fans may gnash their teeth over the loss of Faneca – something that hurts, but was not unexpected – a quick look around the division shows Pittsburgh isn’t really in bad shape.

Certainly losing Faneca hurts the Steelers, but don’t think for a second that the team is going to sit on its hands and come back with the same cast of characters – minus Faneca – that it fielded in 2007.

Signing Roethlisberger to a long-term contract was the team’s main focus for this offseason and that’s going to get done.

And once it is, the Steelers will focus on the offensive line, both in free agency and the draft.


Anonymous said...

The moves by Cleveland will likely send their team backwards. Stallworth was unnecessary as their passing attack was fine. Anderson should have been traded for draft picks or Quinn should have been traded for picks. (I would have traded Anderson for the fluke year). Lewis and the D Line are old. The lack of moves is traditional, the Steelers want younger players. Overpaying for Faneca makes NO sense. (the athlete dying young). The Steelers are in good shape as always. Not flashy, not making the pundits happy, just winning games instead.

Anonymous said...

It's just been reported that Roethlisberger has signed an 8 year, 102 million contract, with over 36 million in guaranteed money. Biggest contract in Steeler history.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 25M signing bonus and 36M guaranteed, which I'm assuming includes the signing bonus, over 8 years. Really not bad in terms of real money - an avg of 4M/yr.


Dale Lolley said...

Pittsburgh's schedule in 2008 is very difficult. But so is Cleveland's.
It could open the door for another team – Cincinnati? - to jump up and win the division by surprise.

9-7 would be good for both the Steelers and Browns in 2008 given those schedules.

Anonymous said...

With a 102M QB, I'm not interested in settling for 9-7.


Anonymous said...

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Dale Lolley said...

Jason, if you're going to spam this blog, you're going to be banned from here.

Tapupartforpres said...

Spoken like a true Stoolers fan. When you don't have the money to spend, then the Browns are blowing their money. Well you have a blog you must know what your talking about. Stallworth will open up the passing attack even more, we will now stop the run. Our d-line is old? What? Face it the Stoolers are old, out of money and are over. No one is buying Heintz any more, the recession forces us to buy the generic brand. The have no money. The Browns will win the division and the $102 million dollar man is going to get knocked around, your o-line is old and gone. I can't wait, the Stoolers are over.