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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tuesday news

The parade today was a good look at how close this Steelers team is.

These guys really enjoy being around each other and there's no finger pointing between the offense and defense.

That wasn't always the case. I distinctly remember when there was a definite chasm between the offense and defense back in the early 90s. The defense, which was outstanding, didn't feel the offense carried any of load.

© The task of building for the 2009 season begins today for the Steelers. The Super Bowl is over and the NFL combine is in just a couple of weeks. Free agency begins Feb. 27.

No rest for the winners.

© Head coach Mike Tomlin, director of football operations Kevin Colbert and the Rooneys, Dan and Art II, will sit down in the next two weeks to discuss the team's direction.

Rebuilding the offensive line will be a big topic. Four players with starting experience will be free agents.

Signing outside linebacker James Harrison to a new deal - he's got one year remaining on his current deal - will also be a hot topic. That will be one of the team's offseason priorities.


Ben said...

Dale, what are your thoughts on Harrison? He is clearly dominant -- I love the guy and so does every other Steeler fan -- but he's on the wrong side of 30 now, and that definitely doesn't bode well for a new contract. Given his success this year, DMVP, national spotlight, etc, he could demand a large salary.

He seems to be at his peak, physically, right now. But we all know how quickly that can change. Since he relies primarily on his overwhelming strength and strength-based pass rushing moves, as opposed to a speed/finesse rusher, should we see less of a decline?

The F.O. has shown their willingness to sign a 30+ linebacker to a longterm deal by resigning Farrior, but he also took a significant hometown discount.

Basically, my question boils down to:

1. Should we expect his skills to diminish significantly over the next 3-4 years?
2. Will the F.O. offer him a fair deal to stay?
3. Would he be willing to take a hometown discount to stay? (He's obviously a player who benefits from the 3-4 scheme, and fits this team perfectly, but getting cut 3 times could anger a man like James Harrison.)

Thanks, Dale. Hope you had a great time covering the Super Bowl. I know I enjoyed reading your updates.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are that Harrison has only been playing for a few years now and he is as fresh as a young 28 year old. Who do you think is more dominate, woodley or harrison? This guy has a full tank of fuel left and no way do you let him walk. Give the guy the $$$$$ he deserves and lets roll to our next S.B. No way can you replace him. Also I think Farrior has a few years on Harrison. I think he was about 29 when we got him from the Jets. Good thing we kept him past his **cough cough prime.. yeah right.

5 years @ 55 million
done deal

adamg said...


First, is Willam Gay always a maniac like he was at the parade? He was sure wound up.

I was surprised when Troy went crowd surfing. Then Farrior just took over as MC once he got the mic. What a riot.

I expect the Steelers to release or trade Foote to Detroit thus freeing up some money to sign Harrison, but I think it will be a shorter term, maybe 3 years.

Anonymous said...

they just gave Farrior a 5 year deal.

Harrison deserves a decent payday. that is priority #1

priority #2 is fix the O-line. Hartwig is the only guy on the line that is a solid starter. I think Starks is decent. Kemo and Stapleton are below average and Colon flat out sucks

Bob said...

Re: Comment #2

Yo, "dominate" is a verb, "dominant" is an adjective. They're not even pronounced the same. Why do I see that mistake everywhere on the internet?

It drives me crazy.

Chris said...

This isn't English class. It's not a big deal. I'm sure of it.

Harrison is vastly underpaid, and they'll take care of him. I doubt he'll take a hometown discount from the same hometown who cut him three times, but I don't think he's the type to demand outrageous money either. I think his extension will be "fair."

Viz-Burgh said...


I read Foote's "friend's" comments that he'd like to play in detroit to end his career since that's his hometown, but is there any indication that the Lions want Foote? It seems everyone is jumping to the conclusion that they'll be giving up mid-round draft picks for the guy when I don't have any inkling that they'd actually want him except for the fact that he's a hometown guy & has a couple rings.

Dale Lolley said...

Harrison works out like a maniac. I think he's easily got five years left the way he takes care of his body, barring injury. He will be a priority. They don't want him to hit the open market.

He and Woodley make them a better team because they're able to beat one-on-ones.

Yes, Willie Gay is always a bit of a nut.

Dale Lolley said...

I just said on the radio that I don't think they'll release Foote. I think they'd like to keep him for veteran depth. He's under contract.
The bottom line is, are they a better team without him, even on the bench? I don't think so. It comes down to if he'll be a cancer in the locker room if he's not starting. I don't see that from him.

And they have $20 million in cap space.

Patrick said...

20 Million in cap space? that is almost unheard of with the Steelers.

Besides what you mentioned, where do you think the money will go? Do you see any big names like Jordan Gross or Vernon Carey coming to town? I know that is not the Steelers way, but I think the circumstances of this offseason and the Oline, it would make some sense.

Also, there is the possibility that this is the least year with a cap. Some people (ahem, Florio) seem to think it will definitely be the last capped year. I just can't see it. Who wants to turn the NFL upside down? They will get something done.

But lets assume that 2009 is the last capped year. Do the Steelers go nuts in FA and resigning their own guys for once in order to make a run again in 2009? After that, FA will be to the highest bidder and the Steelers won't go that way. Though I still think they will remain a good team consistently.

Just something to chew on.

Dale Lolley said...

The Steelers will never go nuts in free agency. They don't upset the apple cart in their locker room by signing big-name free agent guys.

You gonna pay a Jordan Gross more than Polamalu? Nope.

They keep their own and add mid-level free agents.

adamg said...


What mid-level UFAs do you see Pgh taking a run at? I've always liked Bryant Johnson (wr, Az, SF, PSU). Even if they retain Nate Washington, it never hurts to have another quality wr, esp with Ward getting up and age and all the pounding he takes from the way he plays.

I think a team like NE or Philly will make a serious run at McFadden. The Pats had bad DBs and a lot of them are FAs anyway. The Eagles depend heavily on their secondary to allow their front to be turned loose on the blitz. I could even see Baltimore being interested.

As for the Steeler OL, I see them trying to keep Starks (still only 26), Essex and Smith at the right price. Kemo was only ok and Colon could be moved to one of the G spots with Starks, Smith or Essex taking over the Ts. I think Stapleton will split time with Hartwig at center next year.

Anonymous said...

keep Marvel Smith? lol

he is done and needs to retire

Stapleton will split time with Hartwig at Center?? LOL, how do people come up with this crazy stuff?

adamg said...

I think if Marvel Smith proves to the Steelers his back is ok, they'll be amenable to re-signing him, but they won't break the bank to do it. It's easy to see if Smith had not had the back problems, he's still a quality NFL OT.

The Steelers love Stapleton. He made the team as a UDFA and over drafted players. When Simmons went out with his achilles tendon injury and was replaced by Stapleton, the interior OL play improved. He didn't have his best day in the SB, but he's being groomed to take over from Hartwig, who'll be in the second and final year of his contract in 2009. The way the Steelers have handled Stapleton is almost exactly the same way they broke in both Mike Webster and Dermonti Dawson.

Dale Lolley said...

Starks will be a priority. Smith will be a fallback at a vet minimum with incentives if Starks bolts.

Viz-Burgh said...

$20 mill. in cap space is nothing. Once you count in the incentives that were earned this season against that $20 mill., take out the new incentives for next season, leave money for the rookie pool, re-sign a few guys who are in the final year of their deal & re-sign some other key guys who are FAs, they'll be down to next to nothing in no time. And with the restrictions that are now in place since 2009 will be the last capped year they won't even be able to structure contracts the way they normally do (low salary in the first year or two with a large escalation after that in salary). This will be a very challenging year for the front office especially with guys like McFadden, Harrison, Heath, and Marvel.