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Friday, March 14, 2008

Steelers bring in Hartwig

Apparently, somebody with the Steelers reads my blog.

Pittsburgh brought in center Justin Hartwig for a visit Friday, looking at yet another possible replacement for Sean Mahan.

Hartwig, a starter for the Panthers and Titans, would be a definite upgrade over Mahan, who didn't pan out after signing with the team as a free agent in 2007.

The Steelers also like youngster Darnell Stapleton. But the question is if they like him enough to name him a starter heading into 2008 with Mahan being the only other alternative.

Their interest in Rex Hadnot last week would suggest not.


stillexile said...

I'm guessing we'd have to drop Starks transition tag in order to afford Hartwig?

Dale Lolley said...

They could rework some other contracts to free up the money. That would be the likely choice.

Wieters said...

I heard Colbert say on Joe Bendel's radio show that they wouldn't drop the transition tag because that wouldn't be operating "in good faith." And I believe I read Ed Bouchette write that Starks hasn't received any interest from other teams.

Dale, how do you see this resolving? It seems like they'll either have to sign him for one year for $7 million, or negotiate a long-term contract including more than $7 million in guaranteed money.

Dale Lolley said...

That's the only two options left for them that I see.

Wieters said...

Would you agree that the Steelers pretty much screwed up the situation with Starks? It seems to me like they overestimated the amount of interest he would draw from other teams.

I'm one of the rare Steelers fans that doesn't question every move the front office makes (*cough* Keona *cough*), their success speaks for itself and they know a hell of a lot more than me. But from my layman's perspective, they seem to have botched their o-line situation.

They have sizable money invested in Simmons, Mahan, and shortly Starks, all of whom appear to my untrained eye to be average to below average lineman. Would they be that much worse off if they had let Simmons and Starks walk and filled the holes with a few high-round picks in the upcoming draft?

I'm not advocating that the Steelers throw around money like crazy like the Browns, but with the extra cap room they could improve the team by signing some mid-level free agents, instead of the bargain-basement variety they've been going after.

Or maybe I'm wrong and they know exactly what they're doing when it comes to their o-line contracts?

Anonymous said...


It was reported that Hartwig visited the Chiefs on Monday. Any word whether the Steelers made him an offer before he left?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe prior starting experience is enough to bring the guy aboard. Mahan had plenty of starting experience in Tampa, look what it got them. Is Hartwig better than Mahan?

Dale Lolley said...

Hartwig has way more experience than Mahan. Mahan had been a part-time starter. Hartwig has been a full-time starter since his second season in the league.
As I understand it, the Steelers talked with Hartwig about the possibility of playing guard as well as center and he balked at it.
He only wants to play center.