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Friday, February 27, 2009

Steelers sign Kemoeatu, McHugh

The Steelers have reached agreement on a contract with free agent guard Chris Kemoeatu on a five-year, $20-million contract Friday, just over 12 hours after the beginning of the NFL free agent period.

Kemoeatu, the Steelers' starting left guard in 2008, was one of three starting offensive linemen set to test the free agent market.

But Pittsburgh placed the franchise tag on left tackle Max Starks and made a qualifying offer of $2.2 million to resticted free agent right tackle Willie Colon.

The team still has an opening at right guard, but it's likely that need can be filled in the draft. Kendall Simmons, who began last season at right guard, played in just four games before suffering a torn Achilles tendon. He was replaced by backup center Darnell Stapleton, but the Steelers would like to upgrade the position.

The Steelers have also re-signed tight end/fullback Sean McHugh, a restricted free agent, to a three-year, $2.57-million deal.

McHugh's deal actually offers some salary cap relief. He had received a tender offer of $1.01 million on Thursday.


Anonymous said...

good signing. Kemo has talent but needs coached up better. Hopefully we draft Mack or somebody to take over for Stapleton or Colon.

I still hope we re-sign Essex

datruth4life said...


John Clayton of ESPN is reporting Chris K.'s deal at 5 years/$20M with $6M guaranteed.

Do you think this was a good resigning for the Steelers? Chris K. seemed to me to be one of the main culprits this past year that almost got Ben killed.

Lastly, have you heard anything on CB Bryant McFadden or T Trai Essex?

Anonymous said...

This is crap. We have 18mil commited to three players who shouldn't even be starting at their positions.

And we can all kiss goodbye the chance to resign our current DPOY, we gave Harrison's money to Kemo, Starks and Colon.

Way to reward the worst players on your team and give the middle finger to the heart of your defense.

Dale Lolley said...

McFadden is supposed to visit Arizona this weekend. He's got a number of team interested in him. He won't be back.

Kemoeatu's deal seems pretty good for a guy with some upside. Heck, it's better than Simmons' deal.

Essex is a low-priority guy. He'll start getting looks when the smoke starts to clear next week.
I'm sure the Steelers wanted to get Kemoeatu locked up before they went hard after Essex.

Dale Lolley said...

How in the hell are they giving the middle finger to Harrison.
First of all, he's got another year remaining on his deal. Were they supposed to extend him and line up with no offensive line next season?
Starks will get a long-term deal that will lower his cap number.
And I don't know where you're getting that they shouldn't be starting. Team won a Super Bowl with those three starting last season.

sherm said...

Give 'em hell, Dale!

Anonymous said...

They finished 23rd in rushing and bottom 5 in sacks given up last season.

And how did they show up in the big game? Uh bye letting a DT tie Reggie Whites SB sack record, gave up a safety by holding, negative runs in the redzone and oh yeah, they put us in 1st and 20 on our game winning drive.

They didn't help win a SB they just weren't crappy enough to stop Ben and the defense from winning one. Our oline is already taking up 20+million of our salary cap and I don't see that production on the field or is there something I am missing? I guess Mitch Berger deserves a couple mill as well? How about Carey Davis?

I just how James Harrison doesn't hold out after winning DPOY and then being asked to play another season for 1-2 mil.

Maybe the Fo should have given themselves more options by, I don't know, DRAFTING SOMEONE FOR THE OLINE IN THE LAST 3 YEARS.

Anonymous said...

Sean McHugh just re-signed for 3 years / 2.57 million.

Anonymous said...

"Draft an O-lineman the last three years" Here is what our team would look like. We wouldn't have S. Holmes "You might have heard of him a time or two. Nor would we have timmons or Woodley or Spaeth or W. Gay or R. Mendenhall or L. Sweed. As far as I remember we picked of Colon in 06 and Hills in 08. Hills will get a real shot this summer. I agree our O-line isn't the best. But you have to start somewhere and loosing two starters and winning the super bowl is where I like to start.

Just sucks that Haynesworth got that money. Now silver back might be licking his chops.

adamg said...

I was going to post that as well. I think it's interesting that McHugh got a 3 yr deal and they also tendered Carey Davis.

I wonder if this will spell the end for Matt Spaeth. Signing two FBs plus the FB (Powdrell?) to the 53 man squad looks like maybe Tomlin has decided the pass-first offense is going into mothballs.

Dale Lolley said...

Carey Davis' tender means nothing. He could be cut tomorrow and it costs them nothing.

The running game struggled in 2008 because of injuries to the running backs as much as anything. Was the offensive line great? No.
But getting a new right guard in the draft will make a big difference.
Starks was solid last year. Kemoeatu is going to get better with more playing time.
But hey, they've won two Super Bowls since 2005, so I can see why you would question the direction of this team.

Anonymous said...

Does Harrison have any influence on the draft? Meaning after the Haynesworth sighning I'm sure the Steelers will know if Harrison wants that kind of money and if so I don't think they give it to him and let him walk after this year. That being said, we would need to get an oslb also in the draft. Or do we tag him next year? Just looking ahead.

Anonymous said...

I question the direction of one part of the team, the offensive line, and its impact on the offense as a whole. The defense, and QB are set as are the skill positions (set with more depth and picks than needed) yet on the oline we are forced to overpay in order to keep together a unit not worth having.

Sorry if I am not a "yes man" who agrees with everything the FO does. The Steelers are good but only perfection escape criticism.

adamg said...


Evidently the Steelers see some role for Carey Davis or they would have non-tendered him just as they did with Anthony Smith. The Steelers don't generally offer contracts to players they have no interest in. You didn't see the team sign 2 or 3 TEs like in years past did you? Personally, I believe Tomlin was not happy with the offense last year and I think this signals that Tomlin wants a bigger emphasis on running the ball.

As for Stapleton, you believe that the Steelers want something better, but the fact is his play made Simmons dispensable.

Anonymous said...


Great insight. With Kemo re-signing and Starks signing his tag, what is now the weakest spot on the line? If on draft day the Steelers had to choose between a guard to replace/compete against Stapleton, a C against Hartwig, or OT against Colon - which position do they choose?
Also, do the Steelers see any of those 3 (Stapleton/Hartwig/Colon) as guys they'd like to keep around past their current contracts?

Viz-Burgh said...

Carey Davis was an exclusive rights free agent with 2 years accrued in the league. He wasn't eligible to negotiate with anyone else & was tendered at the minimum salary - $460K. Anthony Smith would have cost them over $1 mill. to tender. Carey Davis plays special teams if nothing else & is a no brainer to at least bring to camp.

And as far as "you didn't see the team signing 2-3 TEs like in past years", we're one day into FA. And we went into training camp last year with only 4 TEs, one of whom I questioned Dale about right here on this blog because he was 6' 2" & had 8 total catches in college. They were very thin at TE last offseason & I'd be surprised if they went that way again due to the number of reps these guys will take in camp. And there are always a couple FBs MIMIMUM on the offseason roster. The idea that Matt Spaeth is done because of a couple offseason roster expansion signings isn't very realistic.

Dale Lolley said...

Gee, overpay is such a relative term. Who did they overpay? I'm guessing Kemoeaut at an average of $4 million per will look like chump change when some of the other deals start coming in. And he's 26 with one year as a starter under his belt.
The Jets were offering him more guaranteed money than the Steelers were for cripes sakes.

Don't look at the franchise tag value as overpaying Starks because it's doubtful he'll be playing at that rate next season. He played for the tranisition tag rate last season because he had no real need to negotiate a new deal. The Steelers were offering backup money and he figured he could play out the season at $7 million and then go somewhere else. Turns out, they needed him and realized he's capable. Now, there will be some urgency to get something done there. It won't be for $8.5 mill per year, I can tell you that.

As for Colon, a one-year tender at $2 million is no big deal.

Again, take a look around the league and tell me who you'd rather they sign?

As for Carey Davis, he couldn't go anywhere else unless the Steelers didn't tender him. Doesn't cost them much to tender him. Also doesn't guarantee him a roster spot.

Anonymous said...

Don't argue with an Idiot, They will pull you down to their level & beat you with experience

Anonymous said...

I am actually encouraged by the OLine signings. At this moment, at WORST, we will have the same starting Oline as we won the Super Bowl with. We have put ourselves in the position that we can upgrade at ANY OLine position in the draft. If you get a great LG in the draft, you can move Kemo to the right side. If you get a great RT, you can move Colon to guard. Hills and Stapleton then become depth on the Oline. It allows us some flexibility at the draft.

Montclair said...

Love the Kemo signing. People seem to have forgotten the Steelers won the Super Bowl last year and the O-Line starting coming around late in the season & in the playoffs. You really want three (or four?!) new starters next on the line next year?

Duke Robinson with the 32nd pick would make me very happy. Maybe Alex Mack for a year at guard before moving to center?

Let's just hope the cornerback situation can be addressed. That position is a little worrisome with McFadden out of the picture. Love the idea of getting Carr relatively cheaply from Tennessee. Let him compete for a starting job & let him run back kickoffs too, with Santonio handling punts.

And now we've got the Ravens without Bart Scott & hopefully Ray Lewis? This is turning out to be a pretty good week! Yeah, I'll miss the fight & fire, but it's worth seeing the Ravens have their heart & soul ripped out of 'em.

Anonymous said...

im not too worried yet. Kemo has potential, needs some coaching and experience. We shoeuld have re-signed him before last season when we knew he was a starter

Dale - serious question, why in the F did we tender Madison for $1 mill. He was undrafted, if someone else signs him (which wont happen) we recieve no compensation. That is just bad business, we could have re-signed him for cheaper. I dont get it


rocket9 said...

I look at the signing of Kemo and Colon and the franchising (and eventual long term signing to mitigate the cap hit) of Starks as the first step in the eventual recorganization of the line. This draft will bring us, IMO, at least two future starters who will push for playing time next year in anticipation of putting some of the above on the bench or to another position.

I don't know how it will play out, whether they will go with Alex Mack or Unger or a sliding Michael Oher (I don't believe he'll fall that far but his inconsitency is making scouts reevalute him) at 1-32. But I don't think they watch any less film than we do..(LOL..I wish I could watch it with them) and I think we shouldn't freak out too much in the belief that Colon or Kemo are going to be starters for much longer. It's a case of poor drafting coming back to bite them. Also, lack of reps with the same guys at every position..Starks replacing Smith, Kemo r Faneca, Hartwig r Mahan, Stapleton r Simmons...some of these guys starting for the first time in their career! They aren't the star studded lines of yore, but they should be able to get better with another year together and with some fresh talent stirring the competitive fires.

We get our running game back with a healthly "RB by committee" approach and a competent O-line combined with a dominant D and franchise group of skill players and we may win multiple championships.

Dale Lolley said...

I'm not a big Duke Robinson fan.

Montclair said...

Maybe the Steelers just go with the best O-lineman at #32, and if it's tackle (Beatty?), there's always the option of moving Colon back to guard.